It is an uncomfortable thing to contemplate one’s death, and many of us assume it’s a long way off. For this reason many neglect estate planning and put it on the back burner for later in life. However, if your time is cut short you may be left with no say in what happens to your assets, personal items, young children or even your pets. It is therefore important to consider what will happen when you die, and how you will provide for those that you love. But is it necessary to have a formal valid will in place to do this?
5 Reasons you should have a valid legal will
Make your own decisions as to who gets what
If you die intestate (without a legal valid will) your estate will likely be distributed under the intestacy laws, which apportion your property in a specific order of living relatives. First the estate will go to a spouse or partner, then children, parents, siblings, grandparents, and aunts or uncles. If there are no surviving relatives your estate will pass to the state.
A valid will on the other hand gives you complete control over distribution, allowing you to gift specific items to specific people, allocate proportions of your estate to persons or charities of your choice or disinherit estranged family members who would otherwise be entitled to a share. A will ensures your estate is secured for those you want to provide for.
Appoint your own executors and guardians
It’s important to choose the right person to take on responsibilities like administering your estate or caring for your young children when you die. Without a will, you are leaving this decision in the hands of someone else, and it may even cost your estate if a professional trustee is engaged.
Alleviate family stress and conflict
Do your family a favour by having a valid will that clearly expresses your wishes and save them the stress of having to make difficult decisions on your behalf. Eliminate any doubt about your funeral arrangements, specific gifts and who should care for minor children or pets so that cause for conflict can be minimised in what is an already distressing time.
Choose tax effective options
Preparing a will in advance enables you to utilise a range of testamentary tools and structuring techniques to limit tax and transfer fees your beneficiaries will have to pay on their gifts. Such tools also be used to ensure that minor beneficiaries take their inheritance at a specified age and that the assets are appropriately managed on their behalf in the meantime.
Having a valid legal will can significantly simplify the probate process and ensure that there is no doubt about what your final wishes are. Don’t put getting a valid will in the “too hard” casket er..basket because unexpected events could happen at any time. Contact us today to see how easy it is to put secure plans in place for your family’s future. Our Wills and Probate Lawyers in Sydney are always ready to help you.