When you die your loved ones will be emotionally distraught. It will be hard enough for them to cope with their normal daily activities as well as arranging your funeral, and dealing with other bereaved family members.
Do not make it harder by leaving your financial affairs in a mess. The last thing your surviving spouse or family members need is uncertainty and fights about financial matters.
Even a simple will can smooth the process. It will identify who is to look after your affairs, and what they are to do with your property. The existence of a properly signed will allows the named executor to get the process started even before probate is granted. This helps for essential matters such as organising the funeral and accessing your account to pay for the funeral and paying your other bills and periodical expenses.
This will relieve stress and worries at this difficult time, and allow legal and financial issues to be pushed back (as they should be) until the grieving process, and personal issues are dealt with.
A properly signed will also save substantial costs in estate administration. If there is no will, costly Supreme Court proceedings become essential to sort through difficult issues, such as who should be appointed to administer the estate. Further, the funds must be distributed to spouses and children in accordance with a strict legal formula (the intestacy rules), which cannot take account of the complex family relationships, and claims which exist in your family.
Of course, preparing a will is not always simple. It involves identifying your assets, noting property owned as a joint tenant, considering the involvement of family companies and trusts, and considering superannuation funds, and insurance policies, Finally we must consider what effect your death might have on all of these.
For many clients we recommend more complex wills incorporating testamentary trust, life estates, or provisions for grandchildren and others. For some, we must deal with children from prior relationships, and the myriad of other factors and relationships that make up family arrangements.