Published: 07 November 2016
Author: Michael Burdess
Make time to make a Will
Stringer Clark data shows more than 50 per cent of clients do not have up-to-date Wills. As we wrap up another year and get organised for 2017, now is a good time to prepare your Will.
It's not something we want to think about and it's easy to put off, but having a Will helps ensure your assets are divided according to your wishes.
It can also eliminate additional stress on your loved ones as not having a Will can cause complications, delays and extra costs.
Making a Will gives you the power to decide how to divide your estate – your property and belongings – between family, friends or charities. You can also appoint an executor to administer your estate.
Making a Will gives you power over your assets
Often making a Will is something that is put on the back burner or dismissed, as something only needed when you get married, buy a house or have children.
However, anyone aged 18 or older, who has sound mental capacity can make a Will. Even if you do not have substantial financial assets or property you may wish to legally document your wishes in a Will. Also, your financial situation may change in the future and you may be caught out without a will.
At Stringer Clark we believe it makes sense for everyone to have a Will.
What happens if I don’t have a Will?
If you die without a Will your estate will be distributed to your family, according to a legal formula set out in legislation. This could well mean that your estate is not distributed in a way that you would have wanted.
Do I need to see a lawyer for a Will or should I just fill out the booklet available at the post office?
While you can use an off the shelf Will kit, it pays to have it drafted by a professional. This will take the uncertainty out of whether the will has been prepared validly and will also mean you get legal advice on any issues you might face with your will.
We recently met a client who had prepared a ‘home will kit’. The client had experienced a falling out with their only child, who had a mental illness and was living on a Centrelink pension. They had left that child 10% of their estate and the rest to various charities.
We were able to advise of the risks of a Will challenge if the Will remained as it was. Further discussions were had and the will was changed to reduce the risk of a successful challenge and to ensure the client’s wishes would be met.
How do I make a Will?
Our team at Stringer Clark can help prepare a Will for you. Having a lawyer prepare your Will helps ensure that it is valid and that your wishes are set out clearly.