The importance of updating your will - Australian Wills and Estate Law
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The importance of updating your will

Unfortunately, there is no good time that any individual should start writing a will. Whilst it is a devastating event, death is a fact of life and in the unlikely event that a serious accident happens you want your assets to be going to those you love and believe deserves it.

Given there are numerous laws surrounding de facto marriages and relationships as well as major life events having a big impact on those who are seen, by the law, as closest to you it is important that you regularly update your will. Below is an example of the dangers of not updating your will following major life events:

A will lets you choose what happens to your assets, rather than the law deciding.

A family discovered that their recently deceased son’s estate would not be going to them but to his former wife. The now deceased man was 31 years old and had been married for 3 years despite not living with his wife for a number of months. The couple had no children and had split their assets evenly following their separation but had yet to file for an official divorce. Both of them had new partners.

The former wife was, in fact, so certain of her new partner that she was wanting to re-marry and had handed the deceased divorce papers prior to his death, however, he never got the chance to sign them. As a result, no divorce was finalised and the couple were still legally married.

There are three major issues with this regarding the awarding of estate;

  • There is no Will
  • There is no divorce order
  • The couple did not have children

All of this meant that under the Succession Act, the former wife is to receive the estate and the deceased family have no right to his assets.

This is because the Succession Act only titles a de facto relationship as one with children or those who have been living together for a minimum of 2 years.

Keeping a will and regularly updating it is extremely important, especially following a significant change in the structure of your life. If you do not regularly update and read over your will you may find that some of your estate does not find its way to those who mean the most to you. Understandably, it can be stressful and an upsetting thought but if you want the best for the ones you love it is a necessary task that must be completed with care.

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