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Why should I update my will?

When should I update my will?

A valid will can mean the difference between your final wishes being accomplished and your assets going to unintended people. However, with quality will and estate lawyer advice, estate planning can be simplified.

Almost 40 per cent of Australians do not have a will.

A valid will might not be enough to protect your assets. Certain life events can change a person's perspective on the world, as such, your will must also be up to date for it to encompass any new people who fill your life. 

Will-making and the general Australian public

Will-making is such an important activity, it is surprising when individuals fail to make one.

According to research by the University of Queensland, approximately 40 per cent of Australians do not have a will. However, of this group, 54 per cent are planning on making one.

The report found that one of the major reasons for not creating a will was procrastination. Passing away intestate or without a valid will in place, can lead to estate distribution problems.

In the event of an intestate death, a person's assets and valuables will be allocated (under Queensland law) – specifically the Succession Act 1981. Intestate death raises several issues. For one, you are not guaranteed that your assets will be distributed as you may have wanted. Further, your estate might have to overcome certain legal hurdles that may slow the entire process.

A valid will does not guarantee that your final wishes have been met, if it is outdated, it might lead to your assets being distributed to the wrong people. It is recommended that it is best to revisit your will every 3-5 years.

However, there are important life events that make updating a will imperative.

1) Marriage and divorce

Marriage is one of Australia's most common rites of passage. It is a natural step for those who are ready to settle down and formalise their relationship through a legal union.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over 121,000 marriages occurred in 2014, on the other hand, there were 46,498 divorces granted in the same year

Both of these life events change the way you view the world and thus who you want to protect after you have passed.

After your pop the question and exchange your vows, you will need to decide whether you develop mutual wills or create separate ones. A mutual will can come with a range of issues as well as advantages, it is important to discuss with a wills and estates lawyer which one best suits your needs.

Alongside this decision, you should also determine who will be the executor of your will and what powers they shall have. 

When a major event impacts your relationship with your partner, sometimes it may lead to divorce. If this happens, alongside seeking the advice of a local family lawyer, it is important to revisit your will.

There is a range of sections that will need to be remade to reflect your new position, including:

How can a will protect the people you love?How can a will protect the people you love?

2) Children

The birth of a child can bring a lot of happiness to a household. As a parent, it is important to protect their interests at all times. One way to accomplish this is by drawing up a valid and up to date will.

Developing a will can ensure that your children are properly provided for from your estate.

Importantly, grandchildren can also be encompassed by a will. Allowing you to take care of your future generations if something should happen to you.

If you are worried about the state of your will and whether it can properly look after your family, talk to the team at McCarthy Durie Lawyers today.