Why you should see a lawyer about your estate planning

Why you should see a lawyer about your estate planning

Most of us would rather be thinking about how to make or spend our money, rather than what will happen to it after we die.

Estate planning is not really the most enjoyable subject to think about, and many people are quite uncomfortable talking about it with their family and their professional advisers.

The statistics confirm this tale – most estimates suggest that around two thirds of Australian adults do not have a valid will.  Of those that do, many will be outdated or entirely unsuited to the person’s circumstances.

The cost to your family and loved ones in not having a valid, effective will can be extreme – we have all heard horror stories about expensive legal battles over a deceased estate.  Even if you are confident that there will be no fighting amongst your beneficiaries, there are additional complications and costs if you die without a valid will.

Over recent decades it has become increasingly common for people to try to prepare their estate plans themselves.  Initially, with the newsagency will kits, and more recently with the rise in internet automated will sites.  Many people think that because they feel their estate planning needs are quite simple and their assets quite modest they will be able to prepare (and execute) their wills themselves.

I do not agree.

Drafting your own will is fraught with danger. The danger lies in both not fully understanding the value of your estate (and how it is held) and the strict formal requirements imposed by the law regarding execution and witnessing.

In a recent Western Australian case, it was observed “Home made wills are a curse…There is no question but that engaging the services of a properly qualified and experienced lawyer to draft a will is money well spent.”

Virtually all Australian adults who have any sort of assets (be that property, investments or superannuation) would benefit from a properly drafted estate plan. The only way you can be assured that the job has been done properly is by speaking to a lawyer – and one who regularly practices in this area.

The Ballantyne Law Group would be pleased to discuss your estate planning needs on an obligation free basis – contact us to discuss.

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