It’s never easy to think about the day that you won’t be there for your spouse or children, or other family members you love. But it’s never too early to think about it, even if it is difficult. Drawing up a will is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family – regardless of your age.
- A will is a legally binding document that is there to honour your last wishes when you die. If you die without a will there will be no guarantee that wishes will be followed the way you wanted them to. By having a will you will be able to minimise family fights over assets that are left behind and, let’s be honest, how many times have you heard of family members not talking to each other after someone has passed away because they weren’t happy with what was left for them.
- If you have minor children you should draw up a will as soon as they are born. You and your spouse will then have to have one of the most important conversations of your life – who you pick to take care of your children if something were to happen to you and your spouse. This is not an easy thing to decide, but once you know that you have decided and that it’s in your will you will have peace of mind knowing that you have chosen a person that will love your children just as much as you do.
Some people think that wills are only for older, more financially secure people; the truth is that if you have any assets and you are over the age of 16 you can draw up a will.
- By having a will you get to decide who inherits your assets. If you pass away without a will in place the state will decide how your assets are divided. So, for example, the person you wanted to leave your car to might not get the car.
- You can decide what happens at your funeral. Say for instance you have a specific song that you would like to be played, you can put that in the will or simply state if you would like to be cremated or buried just to make sure that everyone left behind knows what to do after you are gone.
- It’s very easy to draw up a will. You can buy the document at a CNA or PNA store and then or write your own document. Just make sure that it has been correctly witnessed (including by a Commissioner of Oaths), dated and lodged where your executor has access to it in the event of your death.
Our lives and our circumstances change so you need to remember to update your will if something changes in your life, like, for instance, you get married or divorced, buy a new home or there is a new addition to the family. These are all very important life changes and you should update your will immediately.
A person may want to do everything they can to protect the ones they love from hurting, but death is one of those things you can’t protect them from. What you can do is make sure that they are going to be fine after you are gone and getting a will is a great way to start doing that.
Words: Natassha Burrell