Q. I’m 28 and single, and while I have some savings, a car and other personal possessions, I don’t have any large assets of significant value, like property. My parents think I should have one now anyway, but do I need a Will if I don’t own property?
A. Although it’s not a particularly fun thought, everyone needs a Will for the simple reason that it helps to ensure your money and belongings go to who you want them to go to when you die.
Even if you think you don’t have anything worth protecting, you might have more than you think. What about superannuation and life insurance? Also, if your death is caused by someone else then there might be a wrongful death suit which could cost, or make, thousands.
If you die without a Will, called ‘dying intestate’, the laws in your state or territory dictate who gets what you’ve left behind. If this happens and you don’t have any relatives closer than a first cousin, everything goes to the government. It’s also designed to prevent your loved ones from having to go through any costly or time consuming legal battles that might be necessary if you haven’t left one.
LegalAid NSW says some of the main reasons to get a Will are to:
- provide for the people you care about;
- leave particular items to certain people;
- appoint a person you trust to carry out the instructions in your will (your executor);
- leave any other instructions you may have (for example, about your funeral arrangements); and
- make a gift to charity if you wish.
If you write a Will you need to have one, or better still two, executors who will be in charge of making sure the wishes in your Will are carried out. This is a lot of responsibility for someone, so make sure they agree to and understand their responsibilities before you appoint them.
The important thing is that if you decide to write a Will, make sure it’s valid and legal. You can find out more information about Wills on the government’s Money Smart website.
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