I’m only in my forties, young and healthy. Do I need to make a will?
Answer is YES. Though we have every reason to believe you will enjoy your life in any foreseeable future, unfortunate thing does happen. In the unfortunate event, do you want to hand over something carrying special meanings to the one you care, give any specific property to your loved ones, gift something to the ones who have helped you or your family?
A valid will may achieve these. Without a valid will, when a person has died, the assets vested in the intestate estate will be distributed in accordance with the priorities specified in the Succession Act 2006 (NSW). The highest priority is the spouse(s) of the deceased; exhausted of which it falls to the living issues or the issues of the issues; exhausted of which it falls to the parents of the deceased; exhausted of which it falls to their siblings; exhausted of which it falls to the grandparents; exhausted of which it falls to the uncles and aunties of the deceased. If the next of kin list has been fully exhausted, the intestate estate will be vested to the state. The intestate estate will be equally distributed to the members in each priority class. Even if someone in your family wants to keep the family home, it is not uncommon that the home has to be sold at the end, and cash proceeds are distributed among the members in the priority class because the whole family members can’t reach
an agreement. Sometimes, the distribution in accordance with the Succession Act 2006 (NSW) may incur unwanted tax liability to your loved ones. A good estate planning by way of creating a will may help.
What do I need to consider when making a will?
There is a wide range of issues to consider. It mainly depends on individual’s circumstances. The Law Society of New South Wales suggests some main considerations are:
- What makes a valid will;
- Who makes sure your wishes are carried out;
- What happens if you marry or divorce;
- Who can you leave your assets to;
- Where should you keep your will;