Get your will together to avoid heartache

Last will: Nearly half of all Australians die without a will. Protect your family and friends by being prepared.
Last will: Nearly half of all Australians die without a will. Protect your family and friends by being prepared.

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It is a little known fact that nearly half of all Australians will die without a will.

This means your assets end up being distributed by legal means and, sometimes, to relatives you are no longer in contact with.

It is vital that everyone make a will so your friends and relatives can attend to your last wishes as you had intended.

sing professional services can be a costly affair but, if you would prefer to make a simple will, here are few useful steps to get the process moving.

The internet is your friend

The internet can be an extremely useful resource for first timers. You can also find free samples which will get you started on how to structure your will using a basic template.

Resist nastiness

Your will is not an appropriate place to air grievances or get the ‘last word’.

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Choose wisely

The executor and witnesses should be chosen wisely – a good tip is to choose people who are more likely to outlive you and the least to inherit from your will.

Start talking

Your friends and family need to know what your last wishes are, so don’t be shy in seeking their input and talking to them about what you want. It’s also a good idea to let them know who the executor of your will is so they can contact them easily. Tell a close friend or family member where a copy of your will is in the event it needs to be accessed.

State law

Some state laws surrounding inheritance vary so it’s best to understand where you sit in the grand scheme of things. Each state government provides a section on their webpage specifically around ‘Wills and power of attorney’ so it’s best to jump on see what you’re able to achieve in your will.

Disinheriting

If you do not wish any of your assets to be given to certain people, it is best to state very clearly in your will.

Second options

For more valuable assets, it’s a good idea to list a secondary or third beneficiary if the first is unable or unwilling to claim the inheritance or are predeceased.

Be specific

Don’t be scared to include as much detail as possible about the people set to inherit from your will. Include their full name, date of birth, address and their relationship to you (i.e; sister, mother, cousin etc). Also list all your assets using as much detail as you can to avoid any discrepancies.

Change it up

Writing your will does not cement it in stone. You are free to change it as much or as little as you like. It’s best to keep it regularly updated with the details of your wishes and assets.