The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that an Australian dies every 3 minutes and 34 seconds. Estimates show that more than 45% of Australians do not possess a valid will. These statistics indicate that a vast proportion of Australians pass away intestate, without preparing a last will and testament.

The difficulty of intestate estates is that the deceased has effectively forfeited the right to specify the distribution of their assets. The effects of the deceased will be distributed amongst relatives, according to a specified legal formula. If there are no living relatives of close enough lineage, the assets may be retained by the state.

Estate planning can be complicated, particularly where property, investments and trusts are concerned. To ensure that you cover all situations and possibilities, it is ideal to have a professional estate planner oversee your will documents. This will mean that there is less chance of anyone contesting the will or finding loopholes.

In combination with your will, a Power of Attorney document can be drawn up, to indicate a person who you would like to represent you, should you be incapable of making decisions. This may, for example, be the result of ongoing illness or sudden injury. You can specify in what circumstances they would be called upon, or make a general or enduring Power of Attorney.

Even once a will and Power of Attorney are established, it is good practice to keep them up to date, checking the documents every few years (and making sure to destroy the old versions). Certain major life events such as marriage, divorce and the birth of children have implications for the distribution of your estate, and as such the contents of your will should be reviewed regularly.

Many people know they should prepare a will, but it is often left on the backburner, thought of as boring or morbid. In fact, a will is a good protection to have in place, ensuring that should you pass away, your estate will be distributed as you intended. A will and Power of Attorney can give you peace of mind, knowing that in any eventuality your wishes will be followed.

Disclaimer: The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent the views or opinions of Total Financial Solutions Australia (AFSL# 224954)

This information does not take into account the reader’s objectives, financial situation or needs. For this reason, before you act on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice taking into account your own objectives, financial situation and needs. Before you make a decision about whether to acquire a financial product, you should obtain and read the product disclosure statement.

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