Wills Australia

Many of us procrastinate when confronted with difficult tasks.  At Retirement Essentials we see it often with people delaying applying for the Age Pension as they can’t face dealing with Centrelink.  Another common area of procrastination is preparing a will.  It is difficult because we have to confront the possibility of our demise and also because we might have to make awkward decisions about who gets what.  Children, partners, parents, siblings, friends and charities are all among the possible beneficiaries

There are also a host of myths about wills that lead to people putting it off or getting it wrong.  Today we are going to bust five of the most common myths.  

Myth 1: It doesn’t matter if I have a will, my family will ignore it

Reality – Your lawful wishes must be followed to the greatest extent possible when you have a will.  But make sure you have a valid will and are not relying on something 20 years old that doesn’t reflect your current circumstances. 

Myth 2: It doesn’t matter if I die without a will

Reality – Wrong.  It matters an awful lot for two really big reasons. The first is that if you don’t have a will you die intestate. In this circumstance a formula will be used to decide how your estate will be divided. The people that need support most, or those you want to help most, won’t necessarily get the biggest share.  Favourite nieces, nephews and siblings etc could end in the same position as those you fell out with decades ago.  

A second important reason is you make things really complicated for those left behind. When you die without a will, you don’t leave the right information that can help any outstanding debts, concerns or agreements to be settled in the easiest and most streamlined way possible, meaning that everything can take far longer and be more complex than necessary. You are creating a lot of stress for people that are already grieving.   

Myth 3: I’m too young to need a will

Reality – All adults regardless of age, relationship status or level of income need a will. 

Myth 4:  I can’t look after my pets in my will

Reality – It’s true that in Australia your pets can’t be beneficiaries of your estate.  But this doesn’t mean you can’t look after them. You can treat your pets as assets and leave them to a beneficiary in your will.  You can also set aside money and resources to provide the best possible care for your pets.  

Myth 5: I can get my partner to witness my will.  

Reality – A witness cannot be a beneficiary of your will. If a beneficiary or their spouse/de facto partner acts as a witness, their share of the will would be void under Australian law. 

This is just a snapshot of the myths surrounding wills and estate planning.  There are a number of others including superannuation where the trustee of the fund in some circumstances determines who gets your super, not your will.  

It’s important to ensure your assets go where you want. Having a valid will is essential to ensure this happens. To assist our members we have established an arrangement with Willed to provide wills and related services.  Our members will get a 20% discount on the preparation of a simple will.  You can find out more about this offer here.