If you don’t have a will, you’re not alone. In fact over half of all Australians don’t have a will, despite a 33% increase in people taking one out during the pandemic.
And while you might not have one because you’re young, you’re in good health or you don’t have many assets, planning ahead can save your loved ones a lot of stress during a time that is already emotionally draining.
When should you make and update a will?
Making a will is not something you often think to do when you turn 18, however writing your will early on and updating it every 3-5 years or when you hit major life milestones is a good rule of thumb to go off, such as:
- Having children or grandchildren
- Receiving an inheritance
- Change in marital status
- Changes to your assets or income
- If any of your intended beneficiaries have passed away.
It’s not all about money
Its easy to think that a will is just about allocating your assets and finances, but it can also provide instructions on other matters such as:
- Nominating a guardian to care for your children until they become adults
- Nominating someone to care for your pets
- Donating to charities by naming them as a beneficiary
- Providing instructions on your preferred funeral arrangements
- Gifting sentimental or personal items that may not hold much monetary value
What happens if you don’t have a will?
If you pass away without a will, the law determines where your assets will go. This is called intestacy and differs between each state or territory. When the law determines what happens to your assets, it can cause a lot of heartache for your family. Not only does it make it more complicated for them in terms of legal process, but it can also mean your assets are distributed in way that does not reflect your intended wishes.
How to make a will
There are a few options when it comes to making a will. You can write the will yourself with the help of a will kit, or you can seek professional assistance from a solicitor or your local public trustee.
Will kits are a great low-cost alternative, however if you do write your own will or use a will kit, be sure to get it checked by a solicitor or Public Trustee. Given it’s a legal document and the importance it holds, if it’s not set up correctly it may be invalid.
Once you make your will, keep it in a safe place and be sure to tell those close to you where they can find it.
Auswide Bank Ltd AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 239686. This information provides general advice only. We do not provide advice based on any consideration of your personal objectives, needs or circumstances.