What happens to your most cherished possessions when you pass away? Nearly half of all Aussies would rather not think about it, according to a study compiled by the University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology and Victoria University. In the study, roughly 40% of Australians said they do not have a Will in place. Creating a Will is important because when someone dies they often leave behind property, assets and debts. This is often referred to as a deceased person’s ‘estate’.
A Will is essentially a set of instructions that is acted upon by an executor. It dictates how you wish to have your assets distributed when you can no longer make the decision for yourself. Most people don’t jump at the idea of creating a Will – it is something that most people hope to ‘get around to doing one day’. But, it is easy to get started. Having a Will in place ensures the rewards of life don’t go to waste.
Not preparing a Will is known as dying ‘intestate’. In this situation, assets are divided between family members according to state laws. For example, in Victoria your assets might be distributed in the following order: spouse, children, parents, siblings, grandparents, uncles and aunts and finally cousins. So if Wills are important family, social, economic and legal documents, why are many Australians putting it off?
The 3 myths about creating a Will that could be preventing you from securing your financial future
Myth #1: Creating a Will is only part of later life planning
According to a 2018 survey of over 2000 Australians conducted by finder.com.au, your generation is a good predictor of whether or not you have a Will.
The survey found 79% of Baby Boomers have a Will compared with only 20% of Generation Y and less still for Generation Z.
As Australians age, the more they think about their estate and how to divide assets like the family home, or superannuation that accumulates over the span of decades.
This is not surprising. Creating a Will is linked to aging and the belief that having a Will is really only going to benefit you if you are blowing out the candles on your 80th birthday.
But the truth is that having a Will affords you security, peace of mind and protection no matter what stage of life you are in.
Most of us hope to live a long and healthy life. But all Australians, not just baby boomers, need to think about creating a plan for financial assets and sentimental belongings.
Tip: your Will should not be a ‘set and forget’ arrangement. Instead, it should be dynamic and that means revising it with each major life change. Some life stages that warrant a review of your Will include buying a property, getting married, having children, starting a business, even becoming divorced.
Myth #2: Only the asset rich need a Will – what about your children!
It’s true that older Australians with significant assets are the most likely to already have a Will and estate planning arrangements. But for everyone else, it’s common to overlook the value of your assets.
When taking stock of your belongings, remember to include:
- money in superannuation
- jointly owned assets
- a life insurance benefit
But there’s another reason this myth needs to be debunked. Use your Will as family planning over the course of your life – not just asset distribution. There are many big decisions that need to be made that don’t include money, like nominating guardians for children.
This is especially important if you’re leaving behind children in a blended family situation.
Tip: It’s likely that you have more assets than you think. You need to consider how you would like those assets to be distributed. It’s also important to remember that Wills are important statements about relationships and intentions. If you don’t think you have enough money to need a Will, think about your children, who is going to care for them and how do you ensure that your assets go for their benefit only!
Myth #3: Creating a Will is difficult and expensive
Many Australian’s are afraid to create a Will due to either the perceived expense or the difficulty.
APS Wills & Estates can help you prepare your Will for as little as $346.50. You need to review your Will throughout your life but it is a small upfront cost for one of life’s most important documents.
It’s not difficult to make a Will that covers basics such as leaving a home, investments, small business and personal items. Even if you have additional assets that you would like to include, creating a Will rarely has added legal complications. It’s more a matter of making important decisions so that your loved ones are covered if something unexpected happens.
Tip: It is not difficult to arrange a Will if you are organised. Before getting support, you can start collecting some important information so that the process is as seamless as possible. Start creating an assets list including property, bank accounts, superannuation and investments. Collect the names and addresses of your desired beneficiaries and if you have children under 18, the details of who you’d like to appoint as their guardian(s).
So what’s stopping you?
Don’t let your Will become something that you might get around to doing one day. Creating a Will place ensures that everything you have worked for doesn’t go to waste. No matter what stage of life you’re in, creating a Will can give you that peace of mind. This is especially important if you have children or valuable assets. And the best part is that creating a Will is an easy and affordable process. So what are you waiting for? APS Wills & Estates can help you prepare your Will for as little as $346.50 (including GST) for a single person or $495 (including GST) for a couple. Click here to find out more or call 1300 131 809