No one likes to consider what happens to their assets when they pass away, and it’s often a difficult conversation to have with your loved ones. But it’s essential to start a dialogue, as your house is one of the most important assets you will ever own.
Why have a will?
Most people think their partner or their children will automatically inherit their estate when they pass away, but this is not necessarily the case. This is why having a will and understanding property ownership is so important. No matter how straightforward you think your circumstances are, having a will helps ensure your wishes are followed.
If a person dies without a valid will, they are said to have died ‘intestate’, and any assets the person owns will be distributed according to relevant State legislation. Situations can arise where your estate may be distributed to family members in a way you hadn’t anticipated, or to people you did not intend to provide for.
Safeguarding your children
Preparing a will is especially important for those with young children, as it allows you to nominate a guardian who you would like to responsibly oversee your children in the event of the death of both parents.
It is important that you and your partner consider choosing a guardian. You should set out how you’d like your children to be raised, so that they will be looked after according to your wishes.
How to create a will
There are a number of options when it comes to preparing your will. You can use a Will Kit or have engage a lawyer or will writer to help with the drafting of your will. Which option you choose depends on your own individual circumstances.
Will kits are generally designed for people with straightforward circumstances. However, for more complex situations it is best to speak with a lawyer or a trustee organisation to get specialist advice.
After your will has been created, it may be necessary to review and update it periodically, especially after any major life changes such as marriage, entering into a domestic relationship, buying property, lengthy overseas travel or the birth of your first child. Doing so ensures that your will continues to represent your wishes as your life circumstances change.
Talking to your family
While it is tempting to delay this discussion, it is important to have a conversation about your will with your family and loved ones. Doing this will help them better understand your wishes. After all, a will is one of the most important documents you will ever create in your life.