ASK AMY: Why do I need a Will?
Q: Why do I need a Will?
A: Many people think that only the elderly need to prepare a Will.
They don’t want to consider that they may be in an accident or become suddenly seriously ill. This is understandable, but it’s always better to be prepared for life’s unexpected twists and turns.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU UPDATE YOUR WILL?
Your Will doesn’t “expire” due to the passage of time. Therefore, it’s important that you review your Will every five to seven years to ensure that it accurately represents your wishes at the time.
You should also review and update your Will after a significant life event such as the loss or acquisition of wealth, death of a close family member or other family changes. It’s also important to update your Will if your appointed executor becomes unable to act in this role.
SOME INSTANCES IN WHICH YOU SHOULD UPDATE YOUR WILL ARE:
If you have children
If you have children, you should review your Will to ensure that your child’s future is protected in the unfortunate event that something happens to you. It’s recommended that you update
your Will after every child to ensure that your family’s best interests are reflected.
It’s important to sit down with a lawyer and ensure that your children will be financially cared for. This can be through ensuring that your Will contains a trust for the benefit of your children, both whilst they are minors and older. In your Will, you can also nominate a guardian for minor children, and, if you wish, direct money to the guardian to assist them in raising your children.
If you die without a Will and have minor children, then any inheritance they are entitled to will be managed by the Public Trustee until they reach 18 years of age. You will have no control over their inheritance, and you lose the ability to direct funds for their education or upbringing, or to assist their guardian.
If you get married
It’s important to note that your Will is automatically revoked by marriage. Therefore, you must rewrite your Will after your marriage, even if the same terms are to be repeated.
If you are going through a separation or divorce, you should immediately update your Will to protect yourself, even if your divorce or separation has not been finalised.
If you die before your divorce is finalised through the Family Court of Australia, the law considers that you are still married to your spouse. Any existing Will you may have prepared during your lifetime will remain in force. This will probably benefit your soon-to-be-ex-spouse.
HOW DO YOU GET STARTED?
DBH Lawyers can help you prepare your first Will or update a Will. The process is straightforward and gives you peace of mind for the future.
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