It is an unfortunate fact that every year our firm has to deal with the estates of people who have died without a Will or with a Will that is outdated and does not reflect their current circumstances or current wishes.
During an emotional time, the lack of a Will or a Will that just doesn’t adequately do the job adds a considerable burden on the executors and beneficiaries and invariably results in unnecessary additional legal costs.
Where significant assets or business interests are involved the impact can be felt even further with potentially years of legal issues to be resolved.
The bottom line is that everybody from the age of 18 with legal capacity should make a Will. And you can’t just set and forget. That Will should be reviewed regularly to ensure it keeps up with changing circumstances.
But aren’t there rules to decide who gets what?
Yes, each state has its own set of rules for how an individual’s property should be distributed in the case of an “intestacy”. This is the legal term given to an individual not having a valide Will at the time of their death that deals with their assets.
But problems arise in the way these rigid laws are implemented.
These problems may include:
- the forced sale of the family home or other assets so that beneficiaries can claim their share of the assets;
- the forced sale of a business or investment assets without the benefit of choosing the best time for the market or business situation
- a failure to provide sufficient financial security for your spouse, children or grandchildren;
- incapacitated family members not receiving adequate support;
- if you have no relatives your assets going to the Government.
- It would also mean you have had no say in who administers your estate and who is appointed guardian of your children if they are under 18 years of age.
It’s your choice
At the end of the day it’s entirely your choice as to when or if you prepare a Will. But just remember that by choosing not to have your Will prepared you are risking losing the chance to choose how your assets best benefit those you leave behind and what the future of your business holdings may be.