The best way to do it is to have a good Will in place at all times. Not having a Will means that you either don’t care what happens when you die or you are happy for the law to prescribe what should happen to your assets when you experience your celestial transfer.
The other consequence of not having a Will or not having a good Will is that the real legacy you could leave is a family destroying dispute when someone decides to challenge your Will. The only beneficiary of this will be the lawyers and you usually don’t intend to benefit them when you die.
Life is also more complex these days and the old concept of your ‘estate’ isn’t what it used to be. Very few people now die leaving just a home and some money in the bank. Now we can leave personal assets, superannuation, life insurance, a family company or trust and even digital assets replete with usernames and passwords. All of these need careful planning for your passing as well.
These complexities also mean that the administration of your estate may also require expertise from people like us. The task of an executor to find and then distribute the estate after meeting all tax obligations is a demanding one and the assistance of experienced hands like ours can make the executor’s role less stressful, keep the beneficiaries happy and even save the estate unnecessary expense.
No matter what you do however, there may always be the prospect of a challenge to your Will. Not having a Will will also increase the prospect of a challenge to your estate. With the developing dynamics in family life these days including blended families, inter family financing, aged care and business succession, not to mention estranged children, there has been a significant increase in challenges to Wills. We are very good at advising people be they executors defending a Will or those who want to challenge a Will.
In the end, it is your choice as to how to pass on from this life and what effect you want to leave on your family. Doing nothing will do nothing for your family after you go and will almost inevitably lead to conflict and resentment. Doing something is always better but not just any something, but a good Will that meets both your circumstances and your aspirations. It’s your choice.