In the United Kingdom a recent survey found that 47% of adults have not yet made a will, In Australia it is reported that 59% of Adults have a Will with a further 22% expecting to make one. In the U.S. nearly 60% of people don’t have a Will. With this in mind what are the impediments that need to be overcome to make what is in most cases a fairly simple and straightforward document.
I am sure that making a Will comes somewhere between rearranging the sock draw and having root canal but if you die intestate (without leaving a will), it leaves your loved ones with further costs and complications at an already difficult time.
The survey found a number of reasons for people not making a Will, with nearly half of the respondents believing they have nothing to leave; with cost, not wanting to think about death, and apathy being significant reasons for not getting around to it. Some people even believe that
“If I don’t make a Will my Wife/Husband/Partner/Children will get my stuff any way so it’s not worth the expense of making a will.”
From experience knowing you’ve got your plans and affairs in order means that you can get on with your life knowing that your friends and family are looked after.
If you die intestate you have no say in what happens to your estate. Under the rules of intestacy your estate will be divided among certain blood relatives which may not be in line with your wishes.
We usually make Wills at a particular life stage such as getting married, having a child or buying or selling a house or other asset. Therefore its not surprising that older people and those with assets most commonly make Wills. Unfortunately not all Wills reflect the Will makers current intentions, circumstances or both of these things.
A Will makes sure your loved ones are looked after at a difficult time. It is not only about the distribution of your assets but also assists to clarify your funeral arrangements, name the executor of your estate and who will be guardian to your children.
Viewing a Will as a planning document allows you to consider financial planning, powers of Attorney and advance care directives at the same time.
Also just as you revisit financial plans overtime you should make changes to your Will particularly if you have a family business you wish to leave your children, own assets overseas, have a disabled child or step children.
Some people believe that making a Will is like going to the Dentist – something that we begrudgingly do. However it is something to assist your loved ones and to plan for your family’s future. It should be part of your financial plan that includes life and income protection insurance, advance care directives and powers of attorney.