Did you know that roughly 45% of Australians die with out a will? On top of this, 90% of Aussies have never told anyone their end-of-life wishes.

While death can be challenging to discuss, planning your will is the best way to ensure your wishes are respected. As you’ll discover from this blog, it’s about a lot more than just picking someone to pay your funeral costs.

Why do I need a legal will?

A will contains instructions on how you want your estate to be managed and distributed after you die. It ensures your wishes are respected and carried out after you pass.

Additionally, a legal will saves your family from deciding on your care, housing, and financial matters while they are stressed and grieving. It also relieves any concerns that they have about not respecting your wishes.

What happens if I don’t have a legal will?

Passing without a legal will means you have little to no control over how your assets are divided up. Commonly, estates without a will are split between the surviving spouse and children. If you have no living immediate family, the assets may be allocated to members of your extended family.

The absence of a legal will also mean you don’t get to choose an executor. The result is anyone with an interest in your estate can apply for administration. This includes beneficiaries and creditors.

Can I write a will myself?

The short answer is yes. You may have noticed that will kits are available at your local newsagent or online. However, you really do get what you pay for.

There is no substitute for a qualified person ensuring you have a will that is valid. It is worth spending money to guarantee the assets you have accumulated in your life are properly dealt with when you die.

How much does a professional will cost?

The construction of a basic will costs approximately $400, though this can vary. Alternatively, creating a will with your spouse will cost around $700.

It is also important to remember that a will is a living document. It needs to be reviewed every couple of years. People often decide to change their will after they have made it. This may happen as many as two, five, ten or more years down the track.

If this involves a simple amendment, you can use a codicil. This is a very simple supplement that updates a will and is significantly less expensive than creating a new one.