It’s a subject most of us don’t want to think about, along the lines of cavity fillings, blood tests and other such uncomfortable situations. Estate Planning.
Even though a Will is probably one of the most important documents you will ever sign, statistics show that on average 45% of Australians do not have a current and valid Will in place. Many people don’t believe it’s necessary to have a Will or make provisions for their Estate Planning until they are much older or have a significant asset base.
This preconceived idea about Estate Planning couldn’t be further from the truth. Take the recent death of music legend, Prince for example. Despite his estate being worth approximately $300 million, the singer did not have a Will that detailed the distribution of his assets.
If you die without a Will, you have died intestate (intestacy). In that case, the state will get involved, and the Law, not you, will determine who is entitled to a share of your estate. Dying without a Will can also place a great deal of emotional and financial stress on loved ones left behind. Conflicts and arguments may arise between family members with different opinions about the distribution of your assets, funeral arrangements, who will be guardian to your children etc. and these disputes may lead to expensive lawsuits.
Prince left behind a complicated family. Both of Prince’s parents have passed away, he has one full sister, several half-siblings and no known children. Prince doesn’t get to decide where his estate goes because he failed to execute a Will. His wishes may have been very different than the intestacy statutes.
You may not consider yourself to have the same net worth as Prince, however, no matter where you stand on the socio-economic ladder you need to protect yourself and your family. It doesn’t matter whether you have just turned 18 or you’re in your 90’s, worth millions or just starting your first job, an up-to-date and valid Will can save your beneficiaries and family a lot of trouble and heartache.