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Wealthy or not, here's why everyone should have a will

Planuhin ng maaga ang will and testament para sa ikapapanatag ng buong pamilya. Source: Getty Images

Many Australians underestimate the importance of having a will, believing they are not wealthy or old enough to need it. But experts say you should start thinking about having one as soon as you become an adult. You can get legal help or use a Do-It-Yourself will kit, but there are certain things to keep in mind while preparing a will.

According to a 2015 study, only older Australians and those with significant assets most commonly had a will in place.  Professor of Practice Adam Steen at Deakin University, led another large-scale study two years later. It showed that almost half of those surveyed did not have a will in place. Professor Steen says various misconceptions and superstitions are among the reasons that people refrain from making a will.

“What we found is that there's a large proportion of people who don't think that they need a will. And there's also a significant proportion of people who think if they make a will, they're going to die. Some people think ‘we don't have enough money’, ‘we're not old enough’. Those factors really apply across the board. Not just in ethnic communities, but also Anglo-Saxon communities as well," explained Professor Steen.


Highlights

  • While online do-it-yourself will kits are a rising trend in Australia, getting legal advice is considered a safer option.But it’s not just solicitors who provide professional assistance. You can get your will written by the State Trustees, a government office operating in each state or territory. Public Trustees still charge, but fees are regulated, nominal or fee-to-service. Fee exemptions may also apply for pensioners and people over 60.
  • Solicitor Dean Kalymnios says having a will in place can save a family the hassles of going through this situation. 

  • Michael Spiegel say once a will is present a family conflict may be prevented. He also points out that having a will is important, not just for asset distribution, but also for nominating guardians for minors.

“If the deceased person's wishes were not known and were not explained clearly, then it leaves a lot of ambiguity. And that's where we see a lot of conflict. Make sure you have everything in place that you want. And the best situation is not only to have it in a place, but to have the conversations so the family knows what's going to happen, there's no surprises, " Spiegel concluded.

 

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