Updated: Apr 1, 2021
Photo Credit: Unsplash
COVID-19 has changed the way we look at our lives and our future. Our lives have become more fragile and uncertain, so has our sense of control over it. COVID-19 is making us more anxious than ever before, about the future of our loved ones as well. We want to look after our family in this hard time. It is making us wonder, how can I do something now to make sure that my family will be protected if anything happens to me. Making our Will is one of such measures that we can take to bring some certainty to our family’s future.
What is a Will?
A Will is a written document that you can prepare to give your instruction about what do you want to happen to your property after your death. A will contains your wishes and the instruction for the person/persons or organisation distributing your property about how this is to happen.
A Will is designed to protect your loved ones when you won’t be around. It not only secures the future of your spouse, children and assets, it can also ascertain how you would like things handled after you have passed away.
What are the Benefits of Having a Will?
Following are the benefits of having a Will:
1. Power to decide how you want to distribute your estate-
A Will gives you the power to determine how you would like to distribute your estate after your death. If you die without a Will (dying intestate), there is no guarantee that your properties and valuables will be distributed according to your desire. You might feel a particular car or boat you own, will be looked after and celebrated more by one of your children than others. A Will is the only way to make sure such personal treasures end up with the right person after you. A Will also help to minimize any family fights over your estate.
2. Power to decide the future care of your minor children-
A Will allows you to make an informed decision about who should take care of your minor children. No one wants to think about the situation when you won’t be present in your minor children’s lives. However, in case of such a terrible event, you would want to make sure you arrange for the best person to look after them. Although it is upon the court to make the final decision, it always takes account of your wishes when there is an existing Will in this effect. Having a Will allows you to appoint the person you want to raise your children or more importantly, make sure it is not someone you do not want to raise your children.
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3. Avoid a lengthy probate process-
All estates have to go through the probate process, with or without a Will. However, having a Will speeds up the process. It informs the court how you would like your estate to be divided. Probate courts serve the purpose of “administering your estate”. If you die without a Will, the court will decide how to divide your estate without knowing your wishes. The process can also cause long, unnecessary delays and expenses.
4. Power to disinherit individuals who would otherwise stand to inherit-
Most people do not realise that they can disinherit individuals out of their Will. Having a Will allows you to disinherit individuals who may otherwise inherit your estate (such as an ex-spouse or an estranged family member). A Will is specifically designed to spell out clearly how you would like your estate to be distributed. In absence of a Will, your estate may end up in the wrong hands or in the hands of someone you did not intend.
5. Minimize estate taxes-
A very important reason to have a Will is to minimize your estate taxes. If you give away a part of your estate to charities or family members, it will reduce the value of your estate when it comes to calculating your estate taxes.
6. Power to decide who will look after the affairs of your estate-
Executors of your Will make sure all your affairs are in order after your death, including paying off bills, cancelling your credit cards, and notifying the bank and other business establishments and taking other necessary legal actions. The executors play the most crucial role in the administration of your estate. You will want to make sure that you appoint the right person who is honest, trustworthy, and organized. Having a Will gives you the power to decide on the executor of your estate. It also makes it easy for the beneficiaries of your Will while going through the emotional hardship of losing you.
Photo courtesy: Joe Hepburn collected from Unsplash
7. Make gifts and donations-
A Will gives you the ability to make gifts out of your estate. It allows your legacy to live on and reflects your beliefs, values and interests. Moreover, gifts up to $13,000 are excluded from estate tax. Therefore, it will also be increasing the value of your estate for your heirs and beneficiaries to enjoy. Please be sure to check the current laws to learn the most up-to-date gift tax exclusions.
8. Power to change your mind if your life circumstances change-
You can change your Will as many times and as often as you like. It gives you the power to change your decisions with the changing circumstances to best suit your family’s need. Having a Will puts you in a position from where you can decide the future of your estate to support your loved ones with the changing circumstances.
9. Because it is your best chance to look after the future of your loved ones-
None of us wants to think about our death and its consequences to our family. To escape that inevitable reality, we avoid thinking about having a Will. Sometimes we only realise the importance of a Will when something disrupts our lives- like an unexpected death or a disability occurs. To avoid the added stress and uncertainty on families during an already very emotional time, it may be wise to meet with an estate planning lawyer to help you draw up an estate plan before it’s too late.
As we are all going through a very uncertain time, we must do our best to bring certainty to our future. It will not only give us the peace of mind to reduce our anxiety, but it will also secure the future of our loved ones. To avoid future complications, it is very important to get the right legal advice when you make your Will. We can help you to connect with a well-reputed Wills & Estate Lawyer to secure your future. Please contact us at www.lawcircuit.com.au or call us on 0418631798 or email us at email@example.com to take control of your future and the future of your family.