Landscapte mode is not supported, please rotate your device to switch to Portrait mode.
Thanks :)
5 myths Financial Advisers hear all the time about Wills and Estates
Middle shadow
Latest  /  Financial Planning

5 myths Financial Advisers hear all the time about Wills and Estates

Did you know that approximately 50% of Australian adults don’t have any form of will? That means half of Australians are without the final legal document that outlines their final wishes and the distribution and administration of any assets making up their estate. That is a scary statistic considering that dying is one of the most disruptive things that can happen to not just your family, but also your finances and possessions.

In Queensland, if you die without a valid will, you are defined as having died intestate. Dying intestate means that your estate may not be distributed between your beneficiaries in the way you wished. Failing to leave clear provisions for the distribution of your assets is likely to place an extra burden on your loved ones when they are already suffering the stress and grief of your loss. On top of organising your funeral and other administrative tasks death brings, they now must deal with the uncertainty and extra costs of finalising your estate.

The below are 5 myths and misconceptions financial advisers in Brisbane hear regularly from their clients.

I am married/in a de facto relationship so my assets will automatically go to my partner

While there is some partial truth in this statement, it is an irresponsible way of thinking. It is true that under intestate estate provisions, your estate will follow the statutory order of beneficiaries where your spouse is likely to sit number one. The problem with this is the number of variables most people don’t think of. Consider a scenario where your spouse remarries, are you prepared for your estate to miss being inherited by your children? If your spouse has declared bankruptcy in the past or has significant financial debts, your assets may end up being passed directly to their creditors. Financial advisers in Brisbane see these scenarios far too regularly and the negative effect they can have on families.

I don’t need a will, I don’t have any major assets

This is a favourite myth of younger Australians. Just because you don’t have an investment property portfolio and a million dollars worth of shares doesn’t mean you have nothing of value to bequeath. Queensland intestacy law requires ALL estates to be properly administered, big or small. Most people don’t think of their superannuation as part of their estate even though it is required by law to be distributed and if there is a life insurance policy attached, the same applies. Everyone over the age of 18 needs a valid will, no exceptions.

I made a will years ago, I don’t need another one

It is important to think of your will as a living document. Through the different stages of your life and throughout changes to your circumstances, your will should be updated with them. Events such as the birth of a child, purchasing property, divorce, marriage or death of a beneficiary should all trigger a change to your will.

My will is really simple, I’ll just get a DIY will kit and do it myself

Drafting a valid and effective will is actually quite complex. Queensland has strict laws around the preparation and witnessing of a will, which if you get it wrong, can result in your will being challenged in court. The costs involved in proving this document was your last will and testament will be substantially greater than the cost of having a professional guide you through the process to begin with.

Making a will is expensive and time consuming

Depending on the complexity of your situation, the fees for preparing a Will are going to vary. Most people find that the cost of having a professional Will drawn up are comparable to that of a good financial planner or the cost of having an accountant prepare and lodge their tax return. Most people talk to an investment property adviser before purchasing an investment property, why do half of Australians neglect to speak to a professional about the single biggest event in their lives? If you think it is expensive to prepare a professional Will, you would not believe the expense involved in challenging one in court.

If you are one of the 50% of Australians without a valid Will, or you can’t remember the last time you updated it, please don’t put it off any longer. Nobody likes to think of death and we know that Wills aren’t exactly the most riveting subject to talk about. But in life they say there are two certainties – death and taxes and both deserve to be looked at by a professional.