8 myths about Wills debunked
Myth 1: “I am not old enough to be worrying about a Will”
As morbid as it sounds, the only thing guaranteed in life is death. We cannot choose when we would like to die. Most people at some time in their life will have an estate of some value. It is important for your estate to be in order to ensure that it is distributed how you want.
Myth 2: “I don’t need to worry about a Will, my family will sort it out”
Mourning the death of a loved one is a difficult time for family and friends. By taking the time to prepare a valid Will, you can save your family and friends any additional uncertainty and stress, not to mention potential extra costs of dealing with the courts.
Myth 3: “Oh a Will – I did that years ago”
It is important to review your Will regularly. We recommend reviewing your Will every 2-3 years as a minimum. Our lives are constantly changing and it is important for our Wills to reflect that. Events that may trigger you to change your Will include, but are not limited to: marriage, separation, divorce, the birth of children and grandchildren, the death of a family member or someone else named in your Will, purchase of real estate, retirement and changes in religious beliefs.
Myth 4: “I don’t need to worry about it, my spouse will get everything anyway”
Your estate does not necessarily go to your spouse automatically. Under South Australian law, a person who dies without a valid Will is said to have died ‘intestate’. Under the intestacy laws in South Australia, your assets will be divided according to the laws at the time of your death. Your estate may go to your spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, grandparents, uncles and aunties, cousins or people you owe money to. The only way to ensure your estate is distributed the way you would like is to prepare a valid Will.
Myth 5: “I don’t have anything to distribute anyway – the Bank owns my house”
In South Australia, your estate must be properly administered if you own real estate or assets valued at more than $10,000 when you pass away. Your estate may be worth more than you think. Funds from superannuation and life insurance do not automatically form part of your estate, however the trustee of these funds may determine to pay the estate thereby enabling the executor to distribute the funds according to the Will.
Myth 6: “My debts will die with me”
Unfortunately not all debts will die with you. In all but the most exceptional of circumstances, your estate must pay all your debts before a distribution can be made to beneficiaries. If there are insufficient assets to pay all your debts, your deceased estate may be declared bankrupt in the same way as an individual.
Myth 7: “I misplace everything – I’ll probably lose the original Will”
Even the most forgetful people should have a valid Will. If you are concerned that you may lose your Will, we can store the original in our fireproof safe.
Myth 8: “Making a Will is expensive”
Preparing a Will is not as expensive as you may think. For a free 30 minute, without obligation consultation to discuss your wishes, please contact us today to make an appointment to speak with one of our experienced solicitors.