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wills, estate planning
01 August 2022

Who you going to call? Will-Myth Busters!

Alex Hall

Associate

There are many myths to be busted when considering Wills.  Below are 5 common phrases/myths which lawyers often hear when speaking with someone about making a Will and explanations which bust these common phrases/myths:

  1. I am too young to worry about a Will– as the saying goes there are 2 certainties in life, death and taxes. Even at a young age, death does not discriminate. Accordingly, you should have a Will which deals with your current circumstances, once you reach the age of eighteen.  In particular, if you own a house, you should have a Will.  A Will makes your loved one’s job easier when they are grieving and gives certainty as to who benefits from your Estate.
  2. I don’t need a Will as my spouse/partner knows my wishes and they will get everything – Unless you have a Will which stipulates who your beneficiaries are, then it does not necessarily follow that your spouse will receive your Estate. It may be that your spouse is entitled to your Estate, should you die “intestate” (without a valid Will) but the process for them receiving their entitlement under your Estate is much more complicated and costly when you die without a Will.  This is not a position in which you would want to leave your spouse.
  3. If I die without a Will the government gets everything, so why worry about it? This is one of the main myths which needs to be busted.  It probably dates back to a time when there were “death taxes”.  However, there are no longer “death taxes” in any Australian state and the government does not receive your Estate.  If you die without a valid Will, you are said to die “intestate”.  Your Estate may not be divided according to your wishes because the law (in Tasmania this situation is governed by the Intestacy Act 2010) sets out how your estate will be distributed.  For example, the law in Tasmania “ranks” relations e.g. spouse, children, parents, siblings and so on as the first entitled to receive your Estate.  This may differ to what your wishes would be and having a Will is important in ensuring your preferred beneficiaries receive your Estate.
  4. I don’t own anything, why would I need a Will? Even if you do not own any large assets, like a house or land it is still important to have a Will so that any money that you have and other assets such as cars and personal items, for example, are directed to the right beneficiaries and to give certainty to your family members at a stressful time.
  5. I wrote my own Will and have it stored at home, so don’t need a Will written by a lawyer – It is recommended that you attend to having a lawyer draw up a Will for you. There is a risk that if you write your own Will that it may be deemed to be invalid and/or ineffective once you die, because for example it may not be executed and witnessed correctly or it may not correctly dispose of your assets.  Self-made Wills often cause headaches for your family members or the Executor who is in charge of administering the Will as they often have to go through more complicated and costly legal processes to obtain a grant of probate.

If you require assistance, please contact our Wills & Estate Planning team or Alex Hall directly in our Scottsdale and Launceston office on 03 6338 2390 or Hobart on 03 6226 1200.

Or contact us by email today.

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