If you’re like most people you probably don’t like to spend too much time thinking about your own death; but just as we need to plan for our retirement, we also need to plan for our departure.
Wills are not only for the wealthy, as some people imagine they are; every adult should have a will in place. If you don’t know what a will is, or don’t have one, read on my friend. Where there is a will there is a way.
What is a will?
A will is a legal document that clarifies how and to whom you want your possessions distributed to in the case of your death.
Whether it’s your property, your jewellery, your photos or your stamp collection, a will is the only way you can be assured that your loved ones will receive the gifts you want to leave them on your departure.
Through a legal will you may also opt to leave money to a charity of your choice.
You can also use your will to state your wishes in regards to your own funeral plans, or to appoint a person to carry out the instructions on your will on your behalf.
A will is also the legal grounds on which you can appoint your preferred guardians for your children in the case of your death.
By having a legal will drawn up at the time of your death, you will be sparing your loved ones the stress of trying to make decisions according to what they think you may have wished.
It will also help speed up the legal process of the distribution of assets.
Who needs a will?
You do! Anybody who owns anything at all should have a legal will.
Don’t be lead by the false impression that you only need a will if you are rich, own property or have children. If you however, it is of extra importance.
Any person who becomes a parent to a child should make a will immediately in order to state your wishes for that child in the case of your death.
How to prepare a will
Preparing a will is not difficult. There are do-it-yourself will kits out there that are perfectly legal and valid if signed and witnessed correctly.
You will need to state your wishes very clearly, however, so as not to cause any potential confusion.
It is recommended to get a personalised legal will drawn up by a solicitor in order to avoid confusion that may come about by something as simple as bad handwriting, unclear direction or an incorrect completion of a do-it-yourself version.
A solicitor can give you peace of mind that all is set up correctly, and they can also give you tax advice you may need to take into account when drafting the will.
How much will it cost?
There is no set price for a will; the cost is determined by its complexity.
It is recommended to shop around and compare different solicitor’s fees. How much would you pay for peace of mind?
How long is a will valid for?
A legal will is valid until your death, unless you choose to change it or revoke it. Keep in mind that as your life changes, so will your will.
For example, if you get married or divorced, or have children. You will need to change you will to include each new child that joins your family, including grandchildren.
You should seek legal advice in the instance of death of a partner or divorce.
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Amanda Jurrissen is a Newcastle based freelance writer and mother to a busy toddler. When she is not writing for Newcastle Solicitors, she writes for a range of businesses both in Australia and abroad, and is attempting to write her first novel.