Wills Lawyers – Penrith, Richmond, Western Sydney (Why Should You Have A Will?)

by | Oct 18, 2021 | Latest News, News, Probate Process, Wills and Estates

Recent research has revealed that over 50% of adult Australians do not have a will or do not have a valid will.

34% recently said “they just haven’t got around to it” and a further 14% think they don’t “own enough assets or have enough wealth to justify the effort involved”.

We want to debunk some of these myths and provide some important tips about making a will.

Why should you have a will? Having a will is a way to ensure that your assets will be distributed how you want if you die and also helps to hopefully prevent potential arguments amongst your loved ones, particularly where you have adult children, blended families, step children, foster children or dependents with high needs.

What happens if you die without a will? In NSW a Probate process is involved when you have a will that will help distribute your assets in accordance with your instructions. However, if you do not have a will your personal representative will need to take steps to apply for Letters of Administration in the Supreme Court and there is usually a set formula that is followed pursuant to legislation. This can sometimes meant that the people who you want to inherit your assets do not receive them and there would be no opportunity to leave gifts or objects to grandchildren or friends as specific wishes cannot be carried out.

You now need to create a will if you are over 18 and have not done so. Here are a few tips:

  1. Make a will is not tempting fate, its making sure there are no problems if you do die and prevents heartache and dispute.
  2. Your digital life should be included in your will. This could include not just photos but have a think about access to social media, trading platforms or even your Amazon account for your executors to prevent further headaches. Also look at things such as crypto currency, Comsec and share accounts when you are listing your assets to help administer the estate when you pass.
  3. Involve your loved ones if you are happy to do so. Talk to them if you want to appoint them as an executor and have a talk about what role you have appointed them for particularly if this is not your spouse or partner.
  4. Keep your will in a safe place. We can certainly store it at Rafton Family Lawyers with our Wills and Estate Solicitor service which is included in our fee. Other people store it in their safe custody box.
  5. Is it easy to update? At Rafton Family Lawyers we help to prepare your will and discuss estate planning at our offices at Richmond, Penrith and Parramatta and our lawyers can help you also to provide minor updates for a very small fee as your circumstances in life change. An important point is don’t put it off! Its better to have a will to not have a will.

Top 7 Things To Consider Before Making Your Will

  1. Choose the executor for your will. This is the person you want to appoint in your will to follow your intentions and administer your estate if something happens. They should be trust worthy and possess some administration skills but overall your lawyers can assist with this and at Rafton Family Lawyers this is an important part of our role. Many people appoint their spouse or adult children.
  2. Have a talk to your estate planner or financial advisor and in some cases your accountant to discuss if there is anything specifically that needs to be included in your will particularly if you have a certain trust set up or a company structure that may be more complicated. At Rafton Family Lawyers our team of lawyers at our Penrith, Richmond and Parramatta offices can assist.
  3. You may want to consider appointing guardians for minor children and this would be children under the age of 18. It may be important for you at that stage to also talk to the guardians that you are thinking of appointing and in some cases some people leave a letter.
  4. Start thinking about how you want your estate to be administered. This is a good opportunity to have a think about if something happened to you and your spouse or partner together. Who would you then leave your estate to? If you have children and they have partners do you want to leave to your grandchildren or do you want the estate to pass to your surviving children? These are all important things to consider before your meeting but can also be discussed in detail with our lawyers at our offices at Penrith, Richmond and Parramatta as we often deal with this in our wills and estate practice.
  5. Decide who you want to receive gifts, special bequests and in general your assets. Many people want to leave specific gifts to certain people such as female grandchildren inheriting diamond or engagement rings and there may be some heirloom items within your cupboards. Its easy for us to be very specific in your will as to who you would like to leave these items to.
  6. Review your current overall wealth. Again, it may be that you speak to your accountant, financial planner or wealth advisor and have a look at what your asset position is and as you update your will you can talk about who you would like to leave things to.
  7. A very important thing that often comes up particularly as Rafton Family Lawyers deals with family law as well as wills and estates is that relationships can break down and in some cases people separate, get divorced and remarry. You need to consider these important updates in your life and ensure that you update your will as some of these major events can impact the validity of any previous will. Talk to our team if you need more information.