I can almost count on two hands how many times people will ask me “do I need a will?” in any given week. And it’s the same answer each time - yes. The thing is, people will avoid making a will because of their age, the belief they hold no assets, and the belief that they simply do not need one. This is not the case. So why do you need one then?

1. You decide how to distribute your estate:

You may want to pass on Grandma’s Royal Albert tea set from the good room to your niece Betty or maybe you promised little Gunter your collection of precious stones? You must make these wishes clear in your will. A will is legally binding on the executor, and the executor must distribute in accordance with its terms. Absent a will there is no certainty that little Betty will have Grandma’s tea set and little Gunter will probably miss out too. Put your mind and your family’s mind at ease and draft a will which clearly expresses your wishes. If it so happens that you die without a will, then the rules of intestacy come into play – but I will save that discussion for another time.

2. To appoint a guardian of your minor children:

Let’s be honest, there are just some people you wouldn’t want to leave your kids with. That could be a reckless younger brother or a nasty old aunty. Your will provides an avenue for you to appoint a guardian or guardians for your minor children should you (God forbid) pass away suddenly. Should you fail to appoint a guardian, then unfortunately this will be a matter for the Court to determine and your children may just end up living the high life in your little bro’s apartment in the big smoke… I’m kidding, the Courts will always look at what the best interests of the child are – but you see my point?

3. Trim those branches from the family tree:

I’m not going to sugar coat this one. All families have falling outs, disputes, and vendettas. At the same time you may want to include someone in your will, you might also want to exclude someone. So whilst ensuring that Betty gets her tea set, you might want to ensure that her sister Rosie doesn’t. In some cases, the people that you do not wish to benefit from your estate may very well benefit if you die intestate (without a will). Without opening another can of worms about family provision claims, the important message to take away from this is that preparing a will can ensure that Rosie does not end up with a piece of your estate.

As always, this information is not intended to be legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is always important to engage a legal practitioner when considering a will. Don’t rely on your newsagent’s “home-will kits” as often these types of wills become the subject of family provision claims or contested probate proceedings. Put your faith in PDL to assist you with drafting a will that reflects your testamentary wishes and personal circumstances.

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

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