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Is there a need for a Will?


If you are convinced that you are not going to die, or you don’t intend to die in the foreseeable future, then read no further.

If, on the other hand, you have accepted your mortality, and know it is only a question of when, not if, you will pass on to another, hopefully better place, I would like to acquaint you with a few issues relating to the need for a Will.

Wills are not only for those in fear of an imminent demise or those in wedded bliss – or otherwise. They are equally important for singles, and particularly important for those who have just exited a relationship, or are about to contemplate a new relationship, or even serial relationships.

Some time ago in The Weekend Australia Magazine, the journalist Victoria Laurie wrote an excellent article titled ‘Estate of Play’. In it she suggests that almost half of the eligible adults will fail to make a Will, or do not possess a current Will. She also mentions, tongue in cheek but nevertheless a sound piece of advice: “If you have led a complicated life, simplify it with your death or a Will”. Many people are aware that an existing Will becomes void on marriage. However, few are aware that a Will made in marriage is not automatically revoked on separation or divorce. As you can imagine, an untimely death, which incidentally most deaths are in one way or another, can have unforeseen, unintended, far-reaching and, in many cases, unwanted consequences.

Our laws include rules for Intestacy (dying without a Will) which provides a set formula for the distribution of your estate. However, this may, and probably will, produce a distribution of your estate which could be at odds with your intentions, especially if you have recently come out of a relationship .The issues today are further complicated with multiple marriages, de facto partnerships, same sex couples and offspring arising from one or more unions, including from time to time ex-nuptial children whose presence often comes to light at the most inconvenient and unexpected times, but almost certainly when the prospect of a distribution or inheritance is at hand.

I strongly recommend if you do not have a Will, or if you recently exited a relationship, you should consult an adviser about the intended distribution of your estate in the event of your undoubtedly undeserved demise. For those who have recently regained single status, whether through design or circumstances, this is just as important.

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