Wills are far from the sexiest or most lucrative topic of law out there, but you’d struggle to find a single lawyer who argues that you shouldn’t get one executed. Why is this? Well, to be blunt, we’re all going to die one day. And dying without a will (intestate) can be a risky thing, particularly when you have specific ideas as to how you want your property and assets to be divided up.
Yet, a 2015 joint study by the University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, and Victoria University found that only 59% of Australians either have a will or expect to make one. Further, a portion of those Australians drafted their will some time ago, meaning that not all of these wills still reflect their drafter’s current intentions or circumstances. The result is that a large portion of Australians either don’t have a will or don’t have a will that’s fit for purpose.
Given this situation, we’ve decided to put together a comprehensive list of the reasons why you should have a will, even if you don’t intend on using it anytime soon.
When you should update your will
Certain life changes can make the current terms of your existing will outdated, or even invalid. Here are some important life moments that may also require a re-drafting of your will:
- A major lifestyle or relationship change – a significant change to your lifestyle or your relationship status can have an effect on your will. For example, under the provisions of the Succession Act 1981 (Qld), a recent marriage invalidates the terms of any existing will.
- Welcoming your first child – without children, your existing will won’t have made provision for what happens to minors in your care on your death. An update to your will ensures that your child will be cared-for in accordance with your wishes.
- Acquiring any new property – this is particularly important for large property acquisitions, like the purchase of a home. Properties can impact (or not impact) your will in any number of ways, so it is important to consult a legal professional about the effects that a new piece of property will have on your existing will.
It should be noted that these are just indicating factors. If there is ever any major change in your life, be it personal, emotional or geographical, it is important to consult a lawyer to determine the effects of that change on your will.