September 21, 2017

The cost of not having a Will

Lawyers keep going on and on about having a legal and binding Will that is up to date.

So for those who might not have had the opportunity to read Noel Whittaker’s article [Sunday Mail – 17/09/17] it might be timely to chase up the article.

Take the time to read the article carefully – it’s pure gold.

Noel Whittaker starts his article in this way –

‘People’s attitudes to money are amazing. They’ll spend most of their lives working for it, worrying about it, and fighting over it, yet many won’t give more than a passing thought to what will happen to it when they die.’

But the really interesting thing about Wills is, according to Noel Whittaker that – ‘Nearly 50% of people die without a will, and most of the remainder seem content to use a “do it yourself” job from the local stationery shop, or grab the first free offer they can find.’

The cost of making a Will which is binding and enforceable will always be much less expensive than the legal costs to get things right [if you can] the second time around.

An example of a common mistake made by people is where Centrelink benefits are being received.

This is the example Noel Whittaker gave – ‘Let’s think about a couple in their early 80’s who own their home, as well as a car and personal effects worth $30,000. They also have superannuation, bank accounts and other investments totalling $560,000.

As a couple, they are entitled to an aged pension of around $18,500 a year.

If one of them dies, and all assets are left to the survivor, that person will be over the limit for a single pensioner assets test and will lose their pension entirely.

That’s a double whammy – losing your partner and your pensions simultaneously.

Not everyone might have the assets base referred to above, but then, that is all the more reason to protect what you do have.

The article is not only a good read, but a cautionary tale for us all.

Lawyers push for everyone to have an up to date and valid Will. Yes, there is usually a fee involved but good advice has always comes at a price. Remember – you get what you pay for.

Don Gayler can be contacted on 4124 7100 or by email at dg@gaylerlaw.com.au.