Having taken instructions for hundreds of Wills, we have noticed some common themes in the way some people think about Wills and Estate Planning. In this article we discuss 8 common misconceptions we regularly encounter when assisting people get their affairs in order.
Myth #1: My family know what I want. They’ll just take care of things – including who will look after my children.
The Truth: Without a Will, your family will lack the power to make many important decisions. They will be bound by what the Law dictates about things such as who will administer your affairs, who will get your assets, when they will get those assets, and who will have legal authority to look after your children.
Myth #2: My family is really close. They’ll never argue over my money.
The Truth: Unfortunately this is wistful thinking. Of all the hard fought and emotionally driven litigation matters we have seen, the worst have been dispute over Deceased Estates. Grief and money seem to be a pretty bad combination, bringing out all sorts of strong emotions. The clearer you are about how you want your affairs handled, the lower the chance of relationship-destroying disputes.
Myth #3: A “home made” Will Kit is good enough.
The Truth: In many cases “home made” Will kits create more problems than they solve – due to the fact that they necessarily must be drafted in a very broad manner. This is good for lawyers who make money out of Estate disputes, but it is not good for your beneficiaries.
Myth #4: My Will is really simple – I just want to leave everything to my spouse.
The Truth: Maybe… maybe not. What if your spouse subsequently remarries, or has children or step-children with a new partner? What if your spouse gets into financial trouble and loses the lot? What if this is already your second marriage? There are excellent options available to protect the legacy you leave behind for your children, while not disadvantaging your spouse.
Myth #5: There’s no point making a Will, because it can be challenged anyway.
The Truth: There are a number of things that can be done by an Estate Planning expert to make your Will more resistant to challenge. Furthermore, very few Wills are actually challenged – in which case the wishes of the Will-maker are simply carried out in full.
Myth #6: All my assets will be passed down through my Will.
The Truth: Not necessarily. Most people think that they “own” assets in a Family Trust, family owned company, or self managed superannuation fund. But assets within these structures do not form part of your Estate. Often additional measures need to be taken to ensure that these assets end up where intended.
Myth #7: This is my second marriage, so I should pay all my superannuation to my adult kids.
The Truth: Superannuation is subject to special tax rules. If superannuation is paid to a ‘non-dependent’ beneficiary, a lump sum tax becomes payable. This could cost your Estate hundred of thousands of dollars in unnecessary tax. We can assist you implement your Estate Planning objectives, taking tax considerations into account.
Myth #8: It will all be easy to sort out after I’ve gone.
The Truth: Few deceased Estates are easy to sort out if proper planning has not taken place. Even if there is a legally valid Will, and the Will is not challenged, deceased Estates can be a headache for the Executor and for the beneficiaries involved. Just imagine how much that problem is amplified if no Will can be found, or if no one knows where the most current Will is located.
The time is ripe for addressing these issues, and ensuring you have a sound Estate Plan in place.
Call us on 1300 654 590 to start the process of putting your family’s Estate Plan into action.
Click here to find out more about how we can help you with your Estate Planning needs.
WARNING & REPUBLISHING
This publication contains general information only, and is not to be construed as legal advice. Laws differs in each jurisdiction in Australia, and may be interpreted or applied differently depending on your location. This publication is not to be used as a substitute for legal advice tailored to your individual situation. Use of this publication does not create or constitute a solicitor-client relationship between Andreyev Lawyers and any user of this publication.
If you would like to use any or our articles for marketing to your own clients, please call us on 1300 654 590 and ask to speak to Andrew.