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Why you should have a Will once you turn 18

Author: Robert Lamb
3 min read
18 December 2019

Key Takeaways

  • Everyone over 18 should have a Will, especially if you have superannuation
  • Your estate may be worth a great deal more than you think
  • Having a proper Will ensures your wishes are followed and reduces your loved one’s costs and stress of administering your estate

You have started receiving a pay cheque and your employer is paying money into your superannuation account. 

It can be very easy for young people to shrug off the idea of having a Will. After all, you may only own a second-hand car and iPhone – not really much of an estate. 

Or maybe you have just started your first full-time job and you are more worried about paying off your HECS debt than planning for the future.

This is a trap many people have fallen into before and yet is incredibly easy to fix.

Anyone whose employer is putting money into a superannuation account for them must seek advice and implement a Will, Enduring Power of Attorney and Binding Nominations to protect themselves and their family. 

This amount is not just the money in their superannuation but also possibly a death benefit or life insurance, which can be upwards of a million dollars.

The estate also includes any money in a person’s bank account.  Some credit cards even have a life insurance policy automatically attached. 

If you die without a Will and there is a substantial death benefit or life insurance policy, family members you have had no contact with for years may be able to apply to share in your estate and may be successful.

Or perhaps you are passionate about a cause such as helping children or animals or saving the environment and you want your estate donated to your chosen cause.

If you die without a Will, your family will have to spend time and money (in what will already be a dreadful situation for them) to ensure that the legal process is followed and may even have to apply to the Court depending on the value or content of your estate.

The only way to avoid these costly and unnecessary issues is to have a valid Will and associated estate documents.

These issues can also arise to some degree when you are alive particularly regarding your wishes as to your health and finances in the event of a serious accident, injury or illness.

In these instances, the existence of an Advanced Health Directive which specifically states a person’s wishes regarding life support are very important. Without an Advanced Health Directive, it is possible parents, siblings or even cousins can be making life and death decisions, without knowing what you wanted. This can place your loved ones in an awkward situation.

We also very strongly recommend individuals have in place an Enduring Power of Attorney that outlines who becomes responsible to administer your financial and personal affairs in the event you lose capacity to make decisions (whether temporarily or permanently).

There are plenty of DIY Will kits available these days. However, we caution people against using these kits. There a numerous technical “rules” that must be followed when drafting a Will.  You might save money now but if the worst happens, your loved ones may spend thousands fixing up problems at a time when that will be the last thing they wish to do. Further to this your Estate may also not be distributed as you intended.

For more information on discussing what is best for you and your circumstances and drafting a valid Will, contact Hillhouse Legal Partners.

The information in this blog is intended only to provide a general overview and has not been prepared with a view to any particular situation or set of circumstances. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. While we attempt to ensure the information is current and accurate we do not guarantee its currency and accuracy. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the information in this blog as it may not be appropriate for your individual circumstances.

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