You may find it uncomfortable to think about your own death and for that reason, would rather avoid thinking about what would happen to your assets and your family if you were to die.
Should you die unexpectedly without a valid Will the process of sorting out your affairs can be far more time consuming, stressful, and costly for your family than it needs to be.
What will happen if you die WITHOUT leaving a valid Will?
This is a BIG issue.
If you have no will and you are survived by a spouse (married or de facto), but no children, then your entire estate, 100% will, by law, pass to your spouse.
This is so even if you were separated from your spouse and even if you had made a property settlement between you. So the former spouse from whom you had separated and even if you have had a property settlement, will get 100% of your estate. Is that what you really intend?
See us about a will. You really need to do something about this if this is your situation.
Another issue you might not know about
If you have a Will but then married after you signed that Will then you may be shocked to know that the Will is now of no legal effect! That’s right no effect! You will be treated as having died without a Will. You really should consider updating your Will if this is your situation.
Yet another issue if you do not have a Will
If you do not have a Will (or have one but that it is no longer of any legal effect) then you must consider the following if you have adult or infant children at the time of your death.
If you are survived by your spouse (married or de facto) and one or more of your children, then, by law, the first $100,000 of your estate, plus half of the balance of your estate, goes to your spouse.
The other half of the balance of your estate will be divided equally between your children.
This could result in unhappy complications for your family if the family home makes up a large portion of your estate because it will have to be sold.
This may not be what you would have wished for had you known. Again, if this is your situation please contact us about making or updating your Will.
If you were to leave no spouse or children, then your entire estate will be divided amongst certain of your relatives, chosen by the law, not by you.
If there are no relatives, it will all go to the Crown (the government). Many people would think this a seriously bad outcome. You should think carefully about making a Will if this if this is your situation.
A Will allows you to make legally enforceable decisions now about what is to happen following your death in terms of the following:
- How your property will be distributed to family, friends or charities.
- Who will take care of your young children.
- Who will administer your estate (do what is necessary to finalise your affairs).
If you currently have a Will, does it need updating?
If you have separated from your spouse, divorced or re-married or commenced a de-facto relationship since making your Will then it’s usually a good idea to update your Will.
For example, marriage in most circumstances will automatically revoke your current Will, leaving you without a Will. If you are separated, but not yet legally divorced, your current Will applies in the event of your death. Often this means your entire estate will go to your spouse from whom you’ve separated and not your children or other loved ones.
There are many other considerations also which can be dealt with in your Will so that your own wishes are carried into effect upon your death and the impact on yourloved ones is minimised.
Northside Lawyers can arrange help you with this for a very reasonable price.
Your Will can be done in your own home or at a hospital or your place of business too! Please telephone us for a quote or an appointment.