Around half of Australians don't have a legal will prepared for when they pass away. Although it isn't pleasant thinking about your own demise, having a legally binding will is vital to ensure that your assets and possessions are distributed to your loved ones in accordance with your wishes. Dying without a will, called being intestate, means that the governing body in your state will distribute your estate in accordance with a standard formula. This may leave important loved ones without the inheritance you would like them to have.
Unfortunately, money can often bring the worst out in people, even family members with previously close and amicable relationships. Having a comprehensive, legally binding and fair will drawn up will help prevent your loved ones from starting legal battles that are frequently bitter and can split families apart. Here are two ways you can create a will that will help to avoid family disputes following your death.
1. Use a lawyer to prepare your will
Although it's possible to create your own will with online will kits, using a lawyer who specialises in wills and probate is a wise choice. They can ensure that your will is legal and binding and has less of a chance of being contested by disgruntled relatives.
Using a lawyer is especially important if your financial or family situation is complex. Multiple assets such as properties, superannuation funds, life insurance and business assets can complicate the division of your estate. Likewise, divorce, more than one marriage or estranged close family members can all prompt a contesting of your will if certain parties believe they've been unfairly excluded or not adequately provided for.
2. Be fair when making provisions for loved ones
If you have estranged family members that you feel don't deserve to receive a portion of your estate, then you may be tempted to leave them out of your will entirely. You are of course legally entitled to do this, although it may make your will more vulnerable to being contested by the family members that you've neglected to provide for.
If the estranged person or people are close family members, such as children or ex-spouses, then there is a very good chance that they may win a legal battle to be granted part of your estate. Even if they don't win, the other beneficiaries will be drawn into a potentially long and expensive legal battle which may severely reduce their inheritance and delay them receiving it for months or even years.
For these reasons, it may be better to provide for such family members adequately in your will. Although this might be a difficult and unappealing choice, it may save your other loved ones a lot of stress and heartbreak in the future.
Creating a will is vital, but it's also important to update it regularly if your financial or family situations change. This will ensure that it's accurate, reflects your current situation and is less likely to be contested.Share
21 March 2017
Hello, my name is Sandra. I live with my two children in Eastern Australia. I have recently come through a very difficult divorce. My ex-partner used to drink too much and he wasn't a very good husband or father. The final straw was when I discovered he was having an affair. I filed for divorce the same day. I knew that getting divorced would be difficult but I didn't realise just how difficult. My husband did all he could to make it hard for me and the kids. Thankfully, I found a fantastic family lawyer who helped me through the entire process. I won custody of the kids and my husband has been asked to pay child support. I decided to start this blog to help others who are going through a divorce.