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Why it’s important to make time to write a will
When you’re out and about making the most of life, it’s not always easy to find time to sit down and think about the future. After all, who wants to be planning for years ahead, when they could be spending time with their grandkids, catching up with friends or heading to the beach for a dip today?
That said, making the most of life also involves careful planning for the future. By dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s, you can help make sure that, when life throws up unexpected events, you can have some level of certainty that your wishes will be acted upon.
One important thing to prepare for is what may happen if you were to pass away. By taking steps, such as planning a will and investing in (or reviewing) your funeral insurance, you can help minimise the impact of financial pressure or uncertainty during a hard time. Funeral insurance can provide a lump sum payment, which means that your funeral can take place according to your plans, and without causing additional stress to your family.
Meanwhile, writing a will can help give you peace of mind that your estate will be distributed as you want it to be. In your will, you can decide who receives your assets should the unfortunate happen. Plus, if there are any dependents in your care, you can include instructions regarding who should look after them, and how they should be cared for.
What happens if I don’t have a will?
‘Dying intestate’ is the term used to describe passing away without a will. One of the consequences of this could be that, rather than your estate being distributed in the way you had planned, it could be distributed according to the law and by the government.
Usually, this results in your next of kin, such as your children or partner, receiving most or all of your estate.
That said, the consequences of dying intestate are not always straight forward—and they vary from state to state. Further, in order to access your assets, your loved ones may need to undertake time-consuming paperwork and, if any disputes arise, the process could become very complicated.
If you ‘die intestate’ and you don’t have any relatives, your estate may go to the government.
Deciding what to include in your will
Ultimately, you have the power to decide what goes into your will.
However, there are some steps you could take in the planning process to help you make sure you cover the most significant details.
- Choose an executor, who you will give permission to follow the instructions you outline in your will, including how and to whom your assets should be distributed.
- Create a list that includes all your assets, as well as all your beneficiaries, then decide what you would like to give to whom. When doing this, think about assets large and small, including photographs and sentimental objects.
- Write down plans for your funeral. This can help your loved ones after you pass away, by relieving them of difficult decision-making processes when they are dealing with grief and loss. As part of this process, it could be a good idea to consider investing in funeral insurance or, if you already have it, check that your cover is still right for you.
Another aspect of your will, that could be important in the planning process, is thinking about what would happen to any dependants in your care were you to pass away. These may include children under 18, elderly parents and/or relatives or beloved pets who rely on your help.
When should I write a will?
It can be tempting to put off writing your will, as it can require quite a bit of thinking, planning and decision-making. However, even if you’re busy or feel uncertain about the process, it can be wise to get started while you’re in good health, so you’re in an optimal position to determine and express your wishes.
Planning a will can provide an opportunity to look over your achievements and plan how you can continue to look after and support your loved ones, even after you pass away. Assets of all kinds, be they of financial or emotional value, can have profound meaning for those who you care about the most.
Reviewing and updating your will
Most people experience a series of changes over the course of their lives, from new relationships to new properties to new ways of feeling about things. This is why it can be a good idea to review your will on a regular basis and update it to reflect your situation as it alters.
When setting aside time to go over your will, you could also consider reviewing other decisions, including estate planning and insurance policies. As part of this process, you might think about funeral insurance, which can help give peace of mind to your loved ones by providing them with a benefit payment that they can use to help organise your funeral according to the arrangements outlined in your will, and perhaps to pay other expenses, such as legal fees involved in executing your will. With Apia Funeral Insurance payment is usually made within 24 hours of an approved claim, so your family would have one less thing to worry about.
Apia’s Funeral Insurance policy can be tailored to meet your needs and those of your family. For example, you might be able to choose a level of cover that suits your budget, oradd accidental death cover as an optional extra, which may provide a payout (on top of your funeral payout) of up to $50,000, if you die as the result of an accident. Apia Funeral Insurance has immediate cover for Accidental Death for the first 12 months of your policy, with no medical questions to answer and full cover for any cause of death after 12 months. For more information, read the Apia Funeral Insurance Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).
Deciding whether to write your will yourself or seek help
When it comes to writing your will, you can do it yourself. However, if you make this decision, you should take steps to make sure that your will is legally valid and binding.
Given that the law can be complicated and varies from one state to another, it could be helpful to consult a lawyer with expertise in wills or the public trustee in your state - NSW, QLD, TAS, NT, SA, VIC, WA. A legal professional may also draw your attention to legal considerations that you haven’t even thought about.
Making sure a will is legally binding
In order to make sure your will is legally valid and binding, your will must be made in writing, and you must sign your will in the presence of two witnesses, who must also sign your will.
When organising witnesses, there are a few factors to consider. For example, a witness may not be a partner with whom you live in a de facto arrangement, an executor who is also a beneficiary of your will, or a beneficiary of your will.
On top of these legal considerations, it can be important to make sure your will complies with the laws in your state, which may be different to the laws concerning wills in other states.
Providing peace of mind
One way of thinking about planning a will is that it presents an opportunity to give peace of mind to your loved ones. By making sure your affairs are in order, you can help prevent confusion, arguments and distress, and at the same time, take control of the future of the assets that you have spent your life building.
Apia Funeral Insurance can be tailored to suit you and your family’s needs. It helps to give you peace of mind for the future, should the unfortunate happen, and support from a friendly team that’s ready to listen. You can learn more here or get a quote online.
Apia Funeral Insurance is provided by TAL Life Limited ABN 70 050 109 450 AFSL 237848 (TAL Life) which is part of the TAL Dai-ichi Life Australia Pty Limited ABN 97 150 070 483 group of companies (TAL). TAL companies are not part of the Suncorp Group. TAL companies use the Apia brand (a Suncorp network brand) under license.
Any advice on this page in connection with the Life products is general in nature and is provided by Platform Ventures Pty Ltd ABN 35 626 745 177 AFS Representative Number 001266101 (PV). PV is part of the Suncorp Group and an authorised representative of TAL Direct Pty Limited ABN 39 084 666 017, AFSL 243260 (TAL Direct). General advice does not take into account your individual needs, objectives or financial situation. Before you decide to buy or to continue to hold a Life Products you must read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement.