Utter the phrase ‘Twenty-Twenty’ and anyone in earshot will automatically nod, knowingly. Yes, if the year of COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that we really have (absolutely) no idea what’s around the corner.
For people who don’t have a Will, times like this can be a prompt to get started. However, often that initial decision doesn’t come to fruition – and making a Will remains an elusive item on their to-do list.
Having a Will – and keeping it up-to-date – is one of the most important investments you can make for yourself and your family. So what is stopping you from making it happen? Here are the four most common barriers I’ve noticed, and some suggestions for how to overcome them. (And I’ll let you in on a secret – it’s always simpler than it seems).
Let’s face it: Thinking – let alone making a decision – about who would raise your children if you weren’t around to is a topic that most of us will avoid. Many couples struggle with this decision and it ultimately stops them from moving forward with their Will.
Maybe you and your partner have different people in mind or maybe the conversation is too emotional to invest in. Either way, it’s crucial you find a way to make a decision – because choosing a guardian, and making it official in your, Will is one of the most important things you can do for your family.
If you’re struggling to choose someone, it’s helpful to start listing the traits and details that you’d like in an ideal guardian.
Your list should cover things like:
So you’re ready to make your Will (you may have even started the process) but there’s a big roadblock in your way: Your partner. If your partner finds every excuse in the book to avoid discussing your Will, it can be very difficult to make any progress.
How you discuss a Will with your partner will change depending on why . Whether your partner thinks the Will process is too overwhelming, will take too long or doesn’t really want to think about it at all – the most important thing to do is to keep things simple.
Some things that can help you include:
This is one of the biggest myths about making a Will – that it’s too time consuming and too expensive. While meeting with lawers in person can be costly, this is not the only way to make a Will.
The cheapest, quickest option is to use a DIY Will kit – however we strongly advise against these as they carry a degree of risk. And there is a very high chance mistakes can be made.
The best value for money is an online option through a lawfirm. Because it’s online, your initial costs are reduced, but you still have a lawyer draft the document – ensuring there is no room for error.
Maurice Blackburn’s MyLife Wills service is an example of this. It allows you to submit your initial wishes online – in around 30 minutes, followed by a call with a lawyer. And at $399 for singles or $599 for couples – it’s a small investment for peace of mind.
Don’t own your home so think you don’t need a Will? Think again, my friend. Many people believe they don’t have the assets required to make a Will necessary. But this is a myth.
Everything you own is an asset: from your car and phone to your pets and clothes. Not too mention your financial assets – particularly those you don’t see every day, such as superannuation, shares and personal savings.
Making a Will allows you formalise how you want to distribute your assets and to name some you trust – know as an executor – to ensure your wishes are followed.
While you may not own a house or have children, you will likely still have assets that need to be distributed if you die. Grab a pen and paper and start listing out everything you own – think of things you own personally and things you might own with someone else, too.
If you’re not sure what to include, to create a Will.
Many of the disputes we deal with at Maurice Blackburn result from people not having a Will – or having one that is out-of-date. These situations can put a great deal of emotional stress and pressure on the people left behind.
Prioritising your Will now is a critical investment for yourself and those closest to you. You will feel organised and in control and it will bring peace of mind to your loved ones.
If you’re ready to get the ball rolling, our online service, MyLife Wills® is a great place to start.
Once you submit your wishes online (don’t worry if you make a mistake or leave something out), we will call you to go through the details and any questions you might have. Your Will is then written by an expert lawyer for a fixed fee, ensuring it is legally valid.
You can provide the information for your Will online in the comfort of your own home. It’s easy and it only takes 30 minutes to complete.
Our experienced wills and estates lawyers are here to help - everything from getting your own affairs in order, to administering a Will when you're an executor, to challenging a Will.
Our Canberra office is now closed, but our team continues to serve ACT clients and are available for phone and video appointments. If you need legal advice, please call us on 1800 675 346.
We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Tasmania. If you need a lawyer in Hobart, Launceston or elsewhere in Tasmania, please call us on 1800 675 346.