It is likely not a pleasant activity to think about your death or to make plans for how your belongings and assets should be disposed of after you have died. It may be unpleasant, but it is an unfortunate reality that at some time in the future, someone will be tasked with trying to respect your wishes and dispose of your estate. That someone is usually a person close to you, whether it be your spouse, a child or a friend.
A Will that has been properly prepared with a solicitor provides a set of instructions and wishes to assist facilitate the processes that occur after your death. A Will often endeavours to ensure that your estate can be managed as quickly and easily as possible.
If you do not have a Will when you die, no-one has been named by you to be responsible for the disposal of your body, to take care of your pets or children, to pay any of your debts, or to provide benefits to those people that you would like to see receive something from your estate. What often results if there is no Will is the creation of a dispute over these matters and more.
At Turnbull Hill Lawyers we have an active Contested Wills & Estates department that handles all types of different estate disputes and challenges to the terms of Wills. It is disappointing in many cases, however, to review matters where if the deceased had only taken the time to make a Will, or to update their Will, an expensive and adversarial dispute could have been avoided.
People spend their lives and a lot of their time accumulating assets and trying to look after people that they are close to. It should follow that a Will is made so that the world can know how their estate is to be managed and distributed once they have died.
The cost of a simple but effective Will prepared with a solicitor is often less than the cost of putting new tyres on your car, or even paying car insurance.
Your car might be worth $10-30,000.00, but what is your estate worth?
The cost of preparing a Will is insignificant compared to the tens of thousands and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars spent in contested estate litigation matters. The costs incurred in estate litigation are largely borne by the estate, meaning that the beneficiaries of the estate receive less than if there had been no litigation or dispute.
Our tips for avoiding expensive estate litigation are:
Prepare a Will with an experienced solicitor;
Review/update your Will upon any changes in your circumstances, for example: a. having a child; b. getting married/divorced; c. forming a new relationship or ending a relationship; and d. acquiring or disposing of assets.
Tell your executor where your last Will is located.
You have probably thought many times about making a Will, or checking your Will to make sure that it is still appropriate. Our free advice to you is stop thinking about it and just do it. It’s easier than you think and will no doubt give you peace of mind knowing that appropriate arrangements have been made.