Dying without a Will

Posted: Friday, 05 August 2016

Dying without a Will

We all like to think that by the time we die, we will be well and truly prepared. However, unfortunately this is often not the case. Suddenly and unexpectedly, life events can arise which may leave our loved ones in difficult situations.

Please note that the following story is based on true accounts and is already in the public domain.

When mother of two Anne Roberts died without a Will, she would never have anticipated the bitter dispute that would arise. After battling her 3rd round of cancer, she put her trust in new partner Gary to look after her children and ensure her finances were in order. However, after 4 years her two children James and Alex are yet to receive a cent of their inheritance. This includes Anne’s personal possessions such as sentimental objects, jewellery and clothing (Ninemsn, 2016).

This has torn their family apart leaving both children to fend for themselves financially. The trauma involved with losing a parent would only be made worse by the stress involved in a disputed deceased estate.  This is yet another example of why having a Will is so important. Deceased estates are always complicated and having an up-to-date Will is vital to ensure your loved ones are looked after.

Unfortunately, many people don’t have their estate distributed the way they had intended. Our studies show that 30% of Tasmanians over the age of 30 do not have a Will, as well as almost half Tasmanian families with children under the age of 18. This leaves Tasmania’s youngest generation vulnerable in the unfortunate event of both parents passing away.

An up-to-date Will is the most important document you will ever sign, with the main purpose being to protect your loved ones. If you die without a valid Will, this is called dying “intestate” and State law then determines how your estate is distributed.

Some of the reasons you should make or update your Will might include: you bought or sold an asset (e.g. a house/ business), you married, divorced or entered into a significant relationship, a new child, grandchild or stepchild has joined your family, one of your children divorced, separated or entered into a significant relationship, your children now have stepchildren, you retired, your spouse or partner died, or you want to nominate the guardian of your minor children.

If you would like to make or update your Will with the Public Trustee, please contact your nearest branch on 1800 068 784 or go to our website to fill in an appointment form.

For more information on Wills visit: www.publictrustee.tas.gov.au