Only about 48% of adult Australians have a Will written, with that number increasing to 93% for people over 70 years old. It’s great that the old generations are mostly prepared for their end-of-life, but what about everyone else? Given the importance of having a Will in place, only half the population having a Will is a scary statistic.
I’m still under 30 years old, so writing a Will has never been on the top of my to-do list, and is only something I’ve really started to think about recently. I still don’t have many assets beyond some furniture and my savings, but as I’m planning to purchase property in the coming years it’s probably time to write my Will.
How old do I need to be to write a Will?
The only legal requirement for writing a Will is that you need to be a legal adult, so 18 years or older. Other than that, it’s personal preference. Most 18 year olds won’t need to urgently sort out a Will, but it’s a good idea to set one up once you have one or more of the following things:
- You have a child or children, or you are the legal guardian of a child/children.
- You have a pet.
- You have a significant inheritance.
- You have a significant amount of assets such as investments, property or cash.
If you’re like me and think you might not have many assets, think again. Anything from your car, your superannuation balance and the amount of money in your bank account all come under financial assets, which make up your estate. These assets might seem small, but it’s still good to plan where they go in the event of your death.
Why should I write a Will?
The most simple answer to this question is that it reduces a financial and emotional toll on your loved ones when you pass away, and that any children are properly taken care of. If you do not write a Will before you die, this is known as dying intestate, which means your estate will be distributed under a standard formula, which may go against your wishes. This can also be a complicated process and add an extra burden on your friends and family.
By writing a Will, you can appoint your beneficiaries and state exactly what you want to happen to your assets when you pass away, whether that’s to go to your parents, spouse, children, or even charity. You can also nominate a legal guardian for your children in the event both you and your spouse pass away.
It can feel morbid to think about or prepare for your death at any age, but writing a Will is one of the most simple and effective ways to ensure the people you love are taken care of and they won’t have to deal with unnecessary stress and expensive legal processes in the event of your death.
Writing a Will when you have children.
If you have written your Will before you have children, once you do have them, you need to update it as soon as possible.
When you have children or are a legal guardian, you should have a plan for what happens to your children when you pass away, such as who will be their guardian if they are minors.
Without a Will in place, the courts won’t know about who you want to raise your children. This invites family members with different values to come in and raise them in a way you never wanted.
If you are leaving your estate to your children who are minors, you will also need to appoint somebody to be a caretaker of the funds and assets until the children are 18 years old.
All Wills need to have an executor appointed, but it’s especially important when minor children are involved. The executor will need to disperse the funds and pay any debts, so choose somebody close to you and who cares about your children, so they have their best interests at heart.
There is no “right age” to write a Will.
Yes, there’s no right age, but there’s definitely a right time. If you are 18 years old or over and own some form of assets, the best time to write your Will is today. And if you have kids, it’s incredibly important to get your Will written.
Create a Will with Bare Law for free by using our online builder tool and tick “write a Will” off your never-ending to-do list. You’ll give you and your family peace of mind and feel prepared for the future.