There are many common myths about making a will: that I don’t have a enough money to worry about it; that I don’t need a will until I am older; that I can’t afford a will. None of these are true. Regardless of wealth or age, a properly made will is vital to protecting you, your family and your life’s work.
No one likes thinking about death and inevitably making a will requires you to turn your mind to it. But the truth is, while we all feel invincible, particularly when we are young, none of us knows exactly when our time will come.
Sadly, life can end in the blink of an eye: an accident; an illness; a tragic event. In that moment, lives are changed forever. By then, it is too late.
We all have friends and family that we love and that love us. You wouldn’t want to make their lives harder when they are grieving, and yet, every year, many people die without a will, or with a substandard will, and do exactly that.
Making a will doesn’t mean your time is up and despite the initial apprehension you may feel at thinking about your own mortality, the truth is, once it is completed you will feel great relief that you have everything in place. Once it is all done, you only need to turn your mind to it again every few years or if you have a major life change such as getting married, getting divorced or having children.
Wills are not one-size-fits-all and a good will should be tailored to your current circumstances, but robust enough to last through life’s little changes. Wills deal with a whole range of things, from the standard money in the bank and your home, to your superannuation and pets. We can even create complex wills, including life tenancies and testamentary trusts (a great way to protect assets and vulnerable beneficiaries). Unfortunately, DIY wills are often little better than not having a will at all.
Making a will is not the only thing you can do to prepare to the future. An Enduring Power of Attorney can appoint someone to look after you if you become unable to look after yourself. An Advanced Health Directive, sometimes called a “Living Will” can make sure that doctors and hospitals follow your wishes at the end of your life, sparing your family from having the burden of making these decisions for you.
Making a will may also form part of Estate Planning generally. If you have a complex estate, due to having many or varied assets, a blended family or assets overseas or interstate, you may need to incorporate a will into a greater estate plan. If you run a business you may want to consider a will as part of your Succession Plan for the future of your business.
The ability to make a will, and decide who you want to leave your legacy to, is a gift. You deserve to have all your hard work go to the people that matter most to you. Your love ones deserve to have a good will that spares them from the additional burden of dealing with the courts when they just want to be dealing with their grief.