27 September 2023

Adults urged to make a will, as life for those you leave behind can become a 'struggle' without one

| Albert McKnight
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Tanya Nadin

Tanya Nadin is a partner at Baker Deane & Nutt, one of the oldest and most experienced law firms in Australia. Photo: BDN.

Do you have a will? Because many adults don’t, even though it is an important way to have your final say in life.

National Wills Week ran this month. Its key goal: to bust the myth that advance life planning can wait until retirement.

Baker Deane & Nutt partner Tanya Nadin was asked what she would say to someone without a will.

“They should get one because they will never know what is around the corner,” she said.

“You never know what life throws at you.”

She said wills were important because they gave certainty around what would happen with your estate when you died.

“The trouble is, they are a formal document and need to be executed in a very particular way,” she said.

“So when people do it themselves or get a will kit, it can be quite easy to make a mistake.”

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The senior director of the wills, estates and trusts unit at the Public Trustee and Guardian, Danae Lacey, said everyone aged over 18 should have a will.

“It’s really important to start thinking about how you would want your wishes to be carried out,” she said.

“It’s your final say in this life. It’s something to protect what you have worked for.

“It doesn’t matter who you choose to get your will done, we just want everybody to have one.”

She said those aged 18 to 25 were being targetted this National Wills Week because many young people didn’t have a will or think they needed one.

Ms Lacey said she thought young people didn’t like to think about the end of their lives because they were just beginning.

“But I think it is about making these decisions and taking that burden off someone else,” she said.

“If you pass away without a will, that can be quite a struggle.”

She said some people also didn’t think they had enough assets to justify making a will.

But you can include everything from pets, motor vehicles and artworks to bank accounts and digital assets including cryptocurrency.

Ms Lacey said she had even seen boats, planes and gold and silver bullion put into wills.

Second to making a will, the ACT Public Trustee is also urging young Australians to make an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA).

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“An EPA is a legal document, which can be completed at the time of writing a will, that sets out who you would like to manage your financial and personal affairs if you are no longer able to make decisions yourself,” the trustee said.

“This may be necessary if, for example, you sustain an acquired head injury due to a significant car accident or sporting injury or experience an intellectual or psychiatric disability.

“By planning ahead and having an EPA in place, you can save for your loved ones time and stress in the instance something unexpected or unfavourable occurs.”

To start your will-making process, contact a solicitor, succession law practitioner, or the ACT Public Trustee.

You can also start creating your own will via Baker Deane & Nutt’s online will kit. Visit Baker Deane & Nutt.


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