Common misconceptions about estate planning

In 2018, comparison site conducted a survey and found that 52 per cent of Australian adults do not have a will. 34 per cent of Australian adults simply haven’t got around to it, but then there are many who hold misconceptions about wills and estate planning. In this blog, we tackle those common misconceptions.

“I’m not rich enough to have to make a will”

In the survey conducted by, 14 per cent of Australian adults hadn’t made a will because they didn’t think they owned enough assets to justify the effort involved. This misconception is commonly held by young adults, but it is unwarranted. Although you may not own a house, business or large savings, even small personal items, a car, superannuation and life insurance can hold significant value. Leaving no will, no matter how small your estate, only complicates things for those left behind.

Making the effort to plan your will now is justifiable when you consider the costs of administering an estate when there is no will. Appointing an executor in a will is far simpler and more cost-effective. The legal costs of administering your estate without a will may leave your loved ones with a much smaller estate anyway.

“A DIY will kit is good enough”

The DIY will kit is good in theory, but in practice, it creates a lot of problems. DIY will kits are designed to address the needs of a wide range of people, so they are broad and often open to interpretation. If you are going to make a will, do it well! A lawyer who is experienced in estate planning can help you create a will that will be carried out in accordance with your wishes. They can also draft your will in such a way to help protect it from any challenges.

“My estate will automatically pass on to my dependants”

While intestacy laws are in place to provide for dependants, leaving the distribution of your estate up to these laws is still complicated and can be distressing for the family members you leave behind. For example, in some states, a spouse may need to make a special application to claim your entire estate especially when the family is a blended family. Your family will be unable to make decisions and the way in which your estate is distributed, as well as the timing, will be according to legislation and not necessarily the most cost-effective methods or timing.

A will can also ensure your dependents receive all that you intend for them. While your estate will likely pass on to your dependants eventually, it will probably be a costly, complicated and distressing process for those dependants.

“My family won’t fight over my asset”

Unfortunately, relationships within even very close families can grow strained when money is at stake. The loss of a loved one has the power to dramatically heighten emotions and disputes over deceased estates are all too common. Even if you think your family won’t fight, make it easier on them and minimise the chance of ugly disputes with a will that clearly sets out your intentions.

Don’t put off your estate planning any longer. Contact the Estates team at Taylor & Scott Lawyers and make life easier for those you leave behind. Call today on 1800 600 664 or contact directly through the Taylor & Scott website.

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