Even if you are still young, it’s important to make sure that you’re prepared for the worst.
Though you might want to avoid talking about your will – perhaps because you think there’s no need for it yet, or because you don’t want to contemplate the thought of death – there are some good reasons to put it in place earlier rather than later. Here are our top three reasons to get a will, right away.
You get to decide who takes care of your children
In your will, you can nominate a guardian of your choice to take care of any minor children or dependents in the event that you pass away. Without this, the court will appoint someone of their choosing – this could be a close family member who you wouldn’t have chosen (e.g. your sister or mother instead of your brother or best friend) or it could be a legal guardian who also would not have been your first choice. By writing a will, you can have peace of mind that your children will be looked after by somebody you trust.
To decide how your estate is distributed
In your will, you will appoint an executor of your choosing. This can be a family member, friend or legal professional. This person is responsible for distributing your estate and assets as per the directions on your will. Without a will, the courts will appoint decide how to distribute your assets and likely appoint an executor of their own choice – but you don’t have any control over who this is. Because of this, you don’t know if they will have any idea what your wishes were for your assets. Perhaps you wanted to leave your car to your nephew, split your house up between children or make sure that your sister received all your valuable jewellery. If you have specific wishes for how you want your money, property, belongings and other parts of your estate to be split up, a will can specify this.
To insure inheritances are properly managed
Aside from just determining who gets what parts of your estate when you pass away, a will can also be used to set out specific conditions for those who inherit assets from you. You can do this by setting up a trust or testament, and can also provide specific directions for how you want any life insurance or money to be used.
For instance, you can specify that your children only receive their inheritance at a certain age or can access it at a particular point in their lives – such as for a deposit when they are purchasing a house, or for a wedding. Specific instructions given to the executor might include that any money is to be used for tertiary education, buying a house, paying for funeral expenses etc. The advantage of specifying these conditions means that you can control and limit any abuse of the money. For instance, surviving family members or extended family members cannot pressure a beneficiary into funding a business venture or providing for them as the will doesn’t allow for this. It can also help you ensure that those who inherit are responsible with your estate. For instance, laying out terms for a trust means that a minor child cannot inherit a large amount of money and blow it on cars or travel, for instance. There are no restrictions on the rules and conditions you put into place, provided they are legal.
How do you get a will?
You can draft your own will or contact a lawyer, of course. Read more about how MiWayLife can assist you with drafting a will which will allow you to protect your assets and provide for your loved ones after you're gone.