You might think you are too young to make a Will, or perhaps you just have not had time. Well, if you are over 18, you are not too young to make a Will, and everyone should make it a priority.
If you die without a Will, it is not the case (as many believe) that your estate will “go to the government’’. Rather, your estate will be dealt with according to a legal formula outlined in the Administration Act 1903 (WA).
Determining who is to benefit from your estate, and who is entitled to make the application for ‘Letters of Administration’ can be complicated and time consuming. Further, the statutory formula can often be very different from the way most people would leave their estate, if they had made a Will.
This is particularly the case if you leave young children behind. Your children are likely to inherit part of your estate, along with your spouse, if you have them. However, if your children are under 18, the complications become very significant. There will be a need for someone to act as a surety, who will guarantee that they will make good any financial loss that a minor beneficiary might suffer, as a result of the applicant’s actions.
In our experience, finding a person willing to act as a surety can be very difficult. Further, your spouse’s access to funds might be severely curtailed as a result of a large part of your estate being held in trust (possibly for years) for your children.
If you are single without any children, your estate is likely to go to your parents and/or siblings. You might be happy with that, but you might prefer a friend or a charity to receive your hard-earned assets, rather than your brothers or sisters (who perhaps in your view don’t really need it!).
Blended families, children with disabilities or personal difficulties, and estrangements within families are all things that require particular consideration.
Shirley and Emily are familiar with the many varieties of issues which can arise in this area, and are happy to talk with you about them.