It is estimated that roughly half of Australia’s adult population does not have a Will. If true – and pundits declare it certainly is – many people, including children and other expectant beneficiaries, may well face chaos upon the death of a loved one. It is hard to fathom how responsible people could be so, well, irresponsible.
While at Now Sorted, we don’t give advice, we are pleased to work with people who work across the full spectrum of Estate and succession planning; this brief article introduces the Topdocs organisation, an online firm with offices in Melbourne and Sydney that helps resolve such critical issues.
A Will and Powers of attorney are the foundation documents for a plan to pass on control or assets to beneficiaries. And surely one of the best times to set up a Will is when we are healthy, and positive and life’s good. That’s better than attempting it in the final stages of existence. If we don’t establish a Will, the results will likely be despair: things we had hoped would not happen, do happen.
For example, immense complications can occur when a person who has made a Will then remarries – and does not subsequently alter the original Will: do ‘the wrong’ people become entitled to the assets intended for someone else? This, apparently, is a frequent occurrence. Then long-drawn-out and hugely expensive legal entanglements begin.
Worse outcomes frequently await dependants of people who die and they don’t have a Will at all (called intestacy). Different states have different laws surrounding intestacy – and each comes with its own level of complexity – add to this, the usual fault lines that reside within most family situations, and you have a recipe for confusion, anger and bitterness unless it is spelt out via a valid will beforehand.
Topdocs deal in the area of Wills and related Estate Planning documents, it is a part of their core business – and they do a very good job of helping to simplify the most complex of situations.
They provide helpful explanatory brochures on topics of interest. One of them is a simple to read one pager on Dying Intestate: it provides a state-by-state overview on how assets will be distributed where there is no valid Will in place to direct an executor on the deceased’s wishes. You can download this useful PDF right here.
- A former head of legal services at one of Australia’s leading trustee companies summed up issues clearly when she said, “If you have children, if you have any assets at all, you really should have a will. That’s first and foremost. We think that a lot of people, who have divorced or have any form of complex family situation, should be spurred into action. We should give them an understanding of what a mess would be left behind if there is no will.”
- Another expert pointed out that intestacy laws only apply when someone hasn’t got a Will: “Anyone who is worried about such eventualities can bring those worries under control fairly easily, by making a Will or re-assessing a Will.”He added, “The problem is not only that ‘half the population doesn’t have a will, it’s that the other half think that it’s simple’.
These are important points for any of us who have worked hard to build assets. A few minutes speaking to an expert in this area is time well invested.
We hope you have enjoyed this quick read and that we’ll see you back again at our website soon.
Meantime, you can contact Topdocs via their website here.
Prepared for you by the team at Now Sorted.