3 Things You Need To Know About Wills
It can seem scary when you think about making a will. It feels like you're setting yourself up for failure with all the things that could go wrong. However, there are plenty of good reasons for having a will. A will is your final wishes and instructions on how you want your estate to be divided when you pass away. Without it, the state determines who inherits your assets and property.
For most people, this is an undesirable outcome. By making a will, you can guarantee your loved ones are taken care of after you pass away in the way you prefer.
Many people hold false beliefs about wills, but they are simple documents with limited rules and regulations. Here are three things you should know about wills before drafting one for yourself or another loved one.
You don't need to be wealthy to have a will
Wills are not just for the rich and famous. Anyone who owns any assets or property, no matter how small, should have a will. This includes a house, a car or personal belongings like jewellery or furniture.
When the will is unavailable, the state will determine how your assets are distributed through intestacy. Intestacy laws vary by state, but generally, they follow a hierarchy of who is entitled to inherit your assets.
If you have assets that you want to go to someone who is not a direct relative, such as a close friend or a charity, not having a will could result in these assets being distributed in a way that is not in line with your wishes. Wills let you specify who will inherit your assets and in what proportions.
A will can be changed or updated at any time
Life is unpredictable, and your circumstances and wishes may change over time. A will is a flexible document that can be revised or updated to reflect your current wishes. For example, if you get married, divorced or have children, you may want to update your will to reflect these changes.
You can also make changes to a will if you want to add or remove a beneficiary, change the distribution of your assets or appoint a different executor. There are several ways to change a will, including making a codicil (a written amendment to a will) or creating a new will altogether. It is essential to keep your will up to date to ensure that it accurately reflects your current wishes.
You don't have to do it alone
If you are not comfortable drafting a will on your own, or if you have a more complicated estate, you may want to seek the help of a lawyer or other professional. A lawyer can help ensure that your will is properly written and executed and advise you on any legal issues that may arise.
For example, a lawyer can help you navigate complex issues such as tax planning, charitable giving and asset protection. If you have minor children, a lawyer can also help you appoint a guardian to take care of them if something happens to you.
Choosing a lawyer who is experienced in estate planning and who you feel comfortable working with is essential. You can ask for recommendations from friends or family, search online directories or consult with professional organizations in Australia to find a perfect fit.