The Dangers Of Not Having A Will: Who Will Inherit Your Estate?
Have you ever considered what happens to your assets when you pass away? You might leave your loved ones uncertain and financial difficulties if you don’t have a valid will.
Ramsden Lawyers Estate Planning team discusses why protecting your assets and providing financial security for your loved ones should be a top priority for everyone. We understand that contemplating our mortality can be difficult, but planning and ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes is crucial. In this article, we discuss the dangers of needing a valid Will and the potential risks of leaving your estate to be distributed according to the rules of the Succession Act 1981. Our goal is to highlight the importance of estate planning and provide insights into how our team can help you safeguard your assets and provide peace of mind for your loved ones.
The distribution of your assets after your passing can be a source of uncertainty and financial difficulties for your loved ones if you don’t have a valid Will in place. Without a Will, your estate will be described as intestate, and the courts will decide how your assets will be distributed according to the rules of the Succession Act 1981.
It’s essential to understand the risks of not having a Will and take steps to protect your assets and ensure your loved ones are cared for.
Dying intestate, or without a valid Will, can be a difficult and stressful experience for your loved ones. Without a clear plan for distributing your assets, your estate will be divided according to the hierarchy rules outlined in the Succession Act 1981. This can lead to your assets being distributed in ways that don’t align with your wishes and leave your loved ones with financial uncertainty.
Risks of not having a Will
One of the most significant risks of dying intestate is that your assets may not go to your intended beneficiaries. For example, if a spouse and children survive you, your spouse may not receive all your assets as you intended. Instead, the first $150,000 of your estate will go to your spouse, with the remainder divided equally between your spouse and children. This may not be what you wanted, and it can create tension and conflict between your loved ones.
Another risk of dying intestate is that the distribution of your estate may be delayed, causing further stress and uncertainty for your loved ones. Without a clear plan, your estate may be subject to lengthy legal battles, which can tie up your assets for months or even years. This can create financial hardship for your loved ones and make it difficult for them to move on after your passing.
One of the most significant risks of dying intestate is that your estate may be subject to higher taxes and fees than if you had a valid Will. Without a clear plan for how your assets should be distributed, your estate may be subject to higher taxes and fees, which can reduce the number of assets that ultimately go to your beneficiaries.
To avoid these risks and ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, it’s crucial to have a valid and legally binding Will in place. This can provide peace of mind to your loved ones and ensure your assets are protected and distributed as you intend.
Who Will Inherit Your Estate?
The distribution of your assets will depend on your family situation at the time of your passing. The distribution rules are as follows:
- Surviving Spouse with no children: The entire estate goes to the spouse.
- Surviving Spouse and one child: The spouse receives the first $150,000 plus all household belongings, and the remainder of the estate is divided equally between the spouse and child.
- Surviving Spouse and more than one child: The spouse receives the first $150,000 plus all household belongings and one-third share of the remaining assets. The children receive two-thirds of the remaining assets split equally among them.
- Children but no surviving spouse: The entire estate is split equally between the children and any grandchildren.
- No spouse, children, or grandchildren: Inherited in order of parents, brothers and sisters (including their children), grandparents, aunts and uncles (including their children), and finally, the Government.
RAMSDEN LAWYERS – Protect Your Assets and Your Loved Ones with Estate Planning
Our experienced team of estate planning lawyers can help you create a valid and legally binding Will that reflects your wishes and ensures that your assets are distributed as you intend. We can advise on structuring your estate plan, considering factors such as your family situation, financial goals, and tax considerations. We can also help you understand the potential risks and benefits of different estate planning strategies, such as trusts or charitable giving.
In addition to creating a Will, we can assist with other significant estate planning documents, such as a power of attorney. This document ensures your wishes are fulfilled if you cannot make decisions due to illness or incapacity.
We understand that estate planning can be a complex and emotional process. That’s why our team takes a personalised approach to every client, taking the time to understand your unique situation and providing tailored advice to help you achieve your goals. We are committed to providing clear and transparent advice so you can make informed decisions about your estate plan.
Contact the Ramsden Lawyers Estate Planning team today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards securing your legacy and providing financial security to your loved ones.