Estate planning – Why you need to do your will

The common misconceptions when it comes to wills are that they are only for the super rich, or for people that are further along in life. The truth is most people should have a will, regardless of their wealth or age.

Have you ever worked? Chances are that you’ll have superannuation with possible insurance cover that you may have forgotten about, a sum that could easily vary from as little as $50,000 to well into the millions without you realizing it.

You probably own a few valuable items, sentimental heirlooms and other belongings that hold considerable monetary value such as your car for example. Lest we forget those invaluable to you, loved ones that are dependent on you, your partner and children for example.

In the event the worst happens to you and you don’t have a will, the future of your estate is worked out by someone else. Generally the courts will be involved to determine how your estate is distributed. A process that could take anywhere between months or even years for a ruling to be made, causing those dear to you further uncertainty and hardship.

The lack of a will also increase the possibility of people fighting over your estate as your “will” will be open to interpretations. Family members that you wanted to exclude will most probably share in your estate – and your favorite cousin, niece or nephew might miss out on that little something extra to help kick start their lives.

But just having a will isn’t good enough. It is important to keep your will up to date as your mind or circumstances change. If you are unsure as to what goes in a will, use your best judgement – the best part is you can always change your mind, and therefore your will.

When writing a will, just remember that it’s supposed to give clear direction as to what to do with your estate should the worst happen to you. It can be as simple as a document that outlines what to do with the bulk of your estate should you pass away. Some couples even get mirrored (identical) wills as they both want the same thing.

Some important things that a will should cover are:

  • Providing for a child’s future and guardianship
  • Distribution of assets
  • Which charities would you like to support
  • Setting up protection strategies to protect your estate
  • Terms and conditions to cater to circumstances that might have changed in the future

If you would like more information on wills or if you would like to speak to someone, you can contact either a Financial Planner with estate planning experience, your lawyer or call Financial Spectrum to talk to one of our experienced Sydney based Fee Only Financial Planners.