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  • 09Oct

    The Will Myths

    Too many people ignore the importance of ensuring their Estate Planning is in place and up to date.
    Here are the myths:

    “I don’t have much; I don’t need a Will”

    • An Estate is very rarely so small that no planning is required;

    • Anyone over the age of 18 who is earning an income, or who has any assets, should have an Estate Plan;

    “Wills are for old people; I’ll wait until later”

    • As soon as you have any assets, or any children, you need to start considering your Estate Planning.

    • In fact, couples in their 30s with children are the demographic that most require Estate Planning yet do not have even basic Wills!

    • Making sure you have your Estate Planning sorted will ensure your family and loved ones won’t need to endure unnecessary stress or financial hardship

    • It is often much harder for older people to make Wills – as elderly people are more likely to be affected by dementia, sudden illnesses or accidents, which may diminish their capacity to make a valid Will.

    “If I die, it’ll all just go to my kids - I don’t need to bother with a Will”

    • Maybe, but not necessarily.

    • Your Estate Plan should also encompass things like who is to manage your finances, or make medical decisions for you, should you not be able to.

    • These considerations are not just for those people who are approaching their golden years – anyone over the age of eighteen needs to think about it. Illnesses like cancer, and unforeseen occurrences like car accidents happen each day, and they are certainly not reserved for those over 60.

    “My family are pretty tight-knit / easy-going; it seems a bit much to formalise it all like that”

    • You cannot plan or predict relationships, particularly families. You also need to remember that certain family members are eligible to contest your Estate for provision.

    • You should consider how your family dynamics may change over time, and ask your Estate planning solicitor the best way of minimising risks, and making clear your wishes and intentions in relation to your health, lifestyle, medical decisions and financial decisions, as well as what happens after your death.

    “I’ve got a Will I made 20 years ago, that should do fine”

    • Assets change as you do, and so should your Estate Plan. You should review your Estate Plan every 10 years, or each time something major changes in your life (new job, new child,  new relationship, new asset, significant increase in wealth, family law issues, etc)

    • Your wishes may not have drastically changed, but the laws around taxation, or trusts, or superannuation may have.

    • Some types of nominations for beneficiaries of Superannuation can void every three years.
    Hope for the best but plan for the worst - don’t fall into the traps of assumptions, apathy or avoidance. Talk to an Estate Planning solicitor about how they can help you sort out your life (and death).

    To find out more on the above article, contact Krystle Wolthers on (02) 4626 5077 or kwolthers@marsdens.net.au

    The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.

Marsdens Offices