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Why I don’t need a will – and other dumb ideas

Wealth

Why I don’t need a will – and other dumb ideas

Every day people make excuses as to why they don’t protect their most valuable assets by having a will. It’s a risky business, writes DON MACPHERSON.

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

 

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