Nicole runs Griffin Legal’s Wills and Estates practice and utilises her background in accounting to provide thorough estate planning advice.
Do I need a will? YES! The answer is always yes! In every estate planning article you will ever read, the answer will be yes. Every person over the age of 18 should have a will in place. Yet so many people still do not. As an estate lawyer, despite the constant messaging being drummed into people at every opportunity, I am astounded that people still ask if they need a will and when is the right time to prepare one. The answer is NOW!
People tend to hesitate at the cost of preparing a will when they don’t believe their estate is worth it. Whenever someone tells me they don’t own anything I share the following story to highlight the problem with that thinking. This real life example highlights the essence of the problem of taking the “I don’t own anything” rational. This case has been provided by the NSW Trustee and Guardian and is an example of what can happen when you don’t have a will because you believe you don’t have any assets.
A 21 year old girl with no Will was killed in a motor vehicle accident during the course of her employment. As a result there was $200,000 in accident cover paid to her estate. The estate passed to her mother and father equally on intestacy despite the fact that the father had deserted family weeks before the girl was born. The father had had no contact since leaving but was entitled to $100,000.
The key point from the scenario above is clear. No matter what you own now, you don’t know what could happen when you die, and people you never considered as part of your life, may benefit. The girl in the example above had never taken into account the possibility of a large insurance pay out upon her death. She lived at home with her mother and had no significant assets of her own. A man she had never met received half of her estate despite having nothing to do with her throughout her entire life.
Your estate could consist of large assets amounts that you never contemplated and the effect on those you leave behind dealing with your passing, could be devastating. People understand they should have a will, but unless they action the intention, the problem is not solved.
Making a will is one of the last things people want to do. To think about one’s own mortality is sometimes an unpleasant undertaking. However as highlighted above, it is a task that should be undertaken no matter what your circumstances.
A will doesn’t have to be a complicated document. There are wills that can be established to provide asset protection and tax planning tools for your beneficiaries, but a basic will can also be an effective tool to simply direct where your assets should go when you die, to make sure that anything you pass on, goes to the people you really want it to, unlike the girl in the example above.
At Griffin Legal we provide a fixed fee for the preparation of all of our wills, whether standard documents or more complex wills establishing testamentary trusts. We can assist you to work through your estate planning needs and provide advice on the best option for you and your family.
If you would like further information please do not hesitate to contact our team here.