“I think I’m too young to need a will” – When Should You Make Your Will?
Many people put off making their will believing that they are either too young or do not need one because they ‘have nothing’. It is a myth that wills are only needed by the rich. As long as you are over 18 years old, you are not too young to make a will. Although many young adults believe they do not need a will because they do not have valuable assets, this is not true. Death is inevitable for all of us, and being in denial of our mortality will not do us or our loved ones any favours. So, to answer the question ‘When should you make your will?’ We believe the answer is ‘as soon as possible’.
“I’m too young”
Although an uncomfortable thought for most people, we should not put off estate planning as life is unpredictable. Although young adults may be less likely to pass away soon from natural causes, there are many real-life examples of how death can occur unexpectedly. Plane crashes, sudden illnesses and road accidents are simply a few examples of how quickly life can be lost.
“I have nothing”
Even if you believe your assets are measly and not worth making a will for, we urge you to reconsider this. Do you own a house, a car, or pet? Do you have a spouse, a partner or family that relies on you? How about sentimental items that you would like to pass on to a friend? There is no ‘minimum amount’ that you need to own before you can make a will.
“What can a will do for me?”
The purpose of your will is to set out what should happen to your money, properties, investments and any other possession after you pass away. If you do not have a will, your assets will be distributed in accordance with the Distribution Act which sets out specific people and the proportions they would receive in lieu of a will. This means that you do not have any control or say in what happens to your estate. For example, if you pass away while you are unmarried and without children, your parents (assuming they outlive you) will inherit your entire estate. If you have any siblings, they would not inherit. Even if you were engaged to be married, your fiancé would not receive anything.
Dying without a will would also mean that your next of kin will have to obtain a grant of letters of administration instead of probate to administer your estate. Letters of administration is a more complicated process which generally takes long and is more expensive. Having a well drafted will makes it easier, faster and cheaper for your family or next of kin to sort out your estate when the time comes. For further information on probate and letters of administration, please refer to our article here.
“Why do I need a will?”
Some strong reasons to create a will include having children or other people who depend on you, owning a property, owning other assets such as unit trusts, shares or cars, having a pet or having a risky job or one that involves a lot of traveling.
Children and Dependents
If you have children or other dependents, it is important to have a will to ensure that they will be provided and cared for as you wish. You may also nominate a guardian or guardians for your children. Pets should also be considered – who would you want to look after your beloved pet who you love as part of your family? Who would you trust to love and cherish them as much as you do?
Owning a property or other investment is another reason to seriously consider a will to ensure that all your hard work and effort put into obtaining these assets will be passed on to beneficiaries of your choice.
Taking part in high risk activities such as extreme sports, extensive traveling and having a job that involves danger regularly are additional factors which should be considered in deciding if you should make a will. A will would give yourself and your loved ones peace of mind, knowing that they would be taken care should something unfortunate happen.
A will would also enable you to provide a gift to a charity close to your heart, or leave a gift for anybody you wish.
“A will is expensive”
It is a common misconception that it is expensive to get a will made. This is another myth – often, the cost of a will is less than the additional costs of administering an estate without one. Therefore, a will would, in addition to all the other benefits of having a will discussed above, save your estate costs.
“I’m still young - What if I change my mind in the future?”
Finally, it is important to remember that you can always amend or remake your will at any time. A good time to revisit or reconsider your will would be upon the occurrence of any major life events such as deaths, births, marriage or divorce.
A will is your way of leaving your legacy and providing for your loved ones even when you are no longer around.
*This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice. If you are considering writing a will, please reach out to us for a friendly consultation. For more general information on wills, please refer to our article here.