THERE are some classic excuses for choosing not to make a will and the response to all of these furphies, is a resounding “no”.
Favourite excuses that are often put forward are:
- I don’t need a will because my wife/kids are going to inherit everything anyway. She/they’ll take care of it
- Isn’t that for rich, old people?
- I only have a house, not much to worry about really.
- Getting a will is too expensive, and time consuming.
- I’ll be dead anyway, so it’s not a problem.
- If I talk about it too much I’ll jinx myself.
While not having a will may means that ultimately assets eventually find their way to next of kin the pathway is longer, more expensive, and usually means court involvement. Overall it’s a much slower, and more expensive way to achieve the outcome a straightforward will could secure.
Of course, not having a will means your intentions are irrelevant, and what you wanted to happen may not occur.
When people die without a will (called an intestacy) the law sets out a formula that applies to distribute assets in different proportions between next of kin. That may mean a house has to be sold, even if the wife is living there, to satisfy the intestacy formula.
The absence of a will may open the door to a contested estate.
A simple will would prevent unintended consequences occurring.
Wills are usually not expensive (under $500). Unless the estate is complex there is no need for a testamentary trust or other complications to blow out the costs of a will. In fact, lawyers make much more money when people don’t have a will, as sorting out estates without a will significantly increases the time and expense involved.
Don Macpherson is founder of Brisbane Elder Law & Sunshine Coast Elder Law, experts in wills, estate disputes and management. Call 1800 961 622 or visit sunshinecoastelderlaw.com.au or brisbaneelderlaw.com.au