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Failing to face the inevitable.

As the old adage goes…
“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, 
except death and taxes”. Benjamin Franklin  (1706-90)



Why then is it that we so often refuse to acknowledge our mortality? Fear, probably; but to do so can cause an inordinate amount of grief to our loved ones.  Time and time again I am faced with people not only experiencing the grief of the death of a loved one but the additional anguish of dealing with circumstances arising out of a poorly, or completely unplanned, estate.

The attitude of “they can all work it out when I’m dead” may often be said in jest but the reality can cause pain and grief for loved ones far beyond the grief experienced with the loss of the person themselves.

So many times I have heard the words; “I never thought this would happen in my family”.  Often when a parent dies, especially the last of the parental unit, the stability and unity of a family collapses. When an estate is involved a previously united family can experience division and a dysfunctional family can implode.

With the diverse complexities of family composition today the benefit of having a Will that accurately reflects your wishes is immeasurable. You spend a life time working, saving and diligently creating a financial legacy to leave to your loved ones so it is imperative that your hard-earned assets are distributed in a way that reflects your wishes.

I am continually astounded that people will accumulate a sound financial asset portfolio and then begrudge a relatively minor amount to protect them upon their passing. The value of the amount outlaid to prepare a Will and protect your assets in comparison to the potential impact a claim against your estate after your death cannot be underestimated. 

I have witnessed sizable estates reduced considerably due to a poorly constructed over - the-counter Will Kit. A Family Provision Application brought to challenge a Will can considerably eat away at the value of the estate.

It is important to realise that Wills are not just for the mature in age.  Young people dying without a Will can cause significant grief to families.

Take the example of ‘John’ a 25 year old client of mine who at the age of 18 had taken over the care of his two younger siblings aged 14 and 16.  Their father was a drug addict and mother an alcoholic; the children had suffered an extremely dysfunctional and abusive childhood.  As soon as John turned 18 he became the primary caregiver of his two younger brothers. John, a high school teacher was sadly killed in a work related accident. He did not have a Will.  His estate was paid death benefits and superannuation totalling $500,000.00.  Without having a Will his estate was administered under Intestacy laws the result being that it was his mother and father that were entitled to his estate.  It was not a result he would have intended; undoubtedly he would have intended his brothers to take the benefit of his estate.

© Pauline Boyd – Golden Plains Legal.

For Free Wills, Estates and Funeral Planning advice is provided by Golden Plains Legal and Tuckers Funeral & Bereavement Services on the last Thursday of each month.  

To make an appointment please call 5281 2991.