You're never too young for a Will
Written by Gabriella Ferraro
WHEN ARE YOU ACTUALLY TOO YOUNG FOR A WILL
Anyone under the age of 18 is too young for a Will, unless –
1. You are married;
2. You are anticipating marrying and your Will is expressed to be in contemplation of that marriage; or
3. If a court authorises the making of your Will.
OVER THE AGE OF 18
There is a common misconception that you should only plan for your death later in life. Often clients will say “I haven’t considered this before now, I am only [insert age] here”.
Of course the thought of an untimely death may be upsetting, particularly when you are thirty, flirty and thriving. Here are 6 important reasons why you should consider making a will –
1. Life and death happens: 2020 has show that life (and death) doesn’t always go to plan. Disease and accidents can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, your life (and death) are not always within your control.
2. Person appointed to deal with your assets: if no Will exists, the law will govern who is entitled to apply to the Court to administer your estate. If a consensus cannot be reached, the court will appoint an administrator and it may not be who you would have chosen for yourself. If it is a third party administrator, your estate will incur significant costs.
3. Your goodbye: how you are sent off after death may be important to you, particularly if you have specific wishes as to burial or cremation. Ultimately, the decision is at the discretion of the Executor appointed in your Will but providing instructions can be helpful. Without a Will, it will be up to your administrator to make that decision completely on their own without any guidance by you.
4. How your assets are distributed: when you die without a Will, your assets are distributed according to legislation. This may mean that it may not be distributed to the person you want your assets to go to. Generally, your assets will go to your direct family. If you are single and have no living relatives, your assets will go to the State under Succession Law. Friends or charities that are important to you will not be considered.
5. Your partner may not be considered: in a committed relationship but not married? Your de facto partner does not automatically receive equal rights to that of a spouse. In Victoria, unless you have been in a de facto relationship for a continuous period of two years or that relationship has resulted in the birth of a child, your partner may not be entitled to any or part of your estate under the laws of intestacy.
6. Care giving: in the event that you die without a Will, guardianship of your young children will go to the other parent. If they aren’t around or refuse the role, the court will appoint a guardian. Two sets of families, or in some cases, four, that don’t agree is a toxic environment for children. In the same token, your animals will be treated in the same way as your personal assets, which means they may not be cared for in the way you want and by the person you want.
The information provided in this article is general advice only. Given that each situation is unique, we recommend that you contact our office if you are considering preparing your Will. You can contact a member of our estates team on (03) 9311 8911.