In 2008 Heath Ledger died of an accidental drug overdose aged 28. His last Will created in 2003 left Ledger’s estate to his sisters, his father and mother. In 2005 Ledger and Michelle Williams, had a daughter Matilda. As Ledger hadn’t created a new Will, the only way that Matilda could have inherited, except for the generosity of Ledger’s parents and siblings (who decided to give everything to Matilda) would have been by making a family provision claim.
Whilst Ledger had created a Will the fact that he didn’t update it caused further distress to his family at a difficult time. As New Years Eve is a time to make resolutions why don’t you resolve to make a Will (or update your Will) as early as possible in the New Year.
Many of you will ask, “Why do I need to make a Will anyway?” If you own a car, furniture, bank accounts, a property and shares making a Will allows you to direct who will be the executor of your Estate, which family members or friends will receive your possessions following your death, and if you have children who will be their guardians.
If you die without a valid Will your Estate may be divided according to the laws of intestacy leaving it to people you may not even know.
If you don’t have children or obvious heirs, documenting your wishes and making them accessible will help ensure those wishes are fulfilled should something happen to you.
Along with health care directives (often called living Wills) organ donation and arranging insurance cover for loss of income or permanent disability. It is important that you discuss your wishes with someone in order that they are able to act on your behalf in the event of an emergency
Importantly regardless of what you wish to do with your estate be it leaving money to charity, a pet, or friends and relatives you should prepare a Will. As it is important to formulate and communicate to those closest to you a definite plan for your wishes in order that those wishes are met.
So plan for your future and have a Happy and Safe 2016!