The Top 5 Misconceptions About Wills and Probate
Many of us aren’t familiar with the rules when it comes to wills, trusts and probate. This isn’t surprising, after all, nobody wants to focus on what happens after our death. That said, it’s important to know the basics, as you don’t want to be unprepared when the time comes. Here are some common misconceptions about wills and probate you should know about:
Myth: A DIY will is enough
Truth: Homemade wills can create rather than solve more problems for you. For one, your wishes may not be honoured in court if the document is not properly drafted or if there are any statements made in the will that can invalidate it. Homemade wills are also easier to be challenged and contested in court. It’s best to work with professionals to ensure that your assets are properly distributed.
Myth: The eldest child has the advantage
Truth: While most wills place importance on the birth order, in court it holds no advantage when it comes to being the executor of a deceased parent’s assets. The person named by the deceased as their executor has more right unless a disability or a conviction prevents them from doing so. If there is no executor named in the will, the court will be tasked with naming one.
Myth: Without a will, everything goes to the government
Truth: Wills are written for numerous reasons, but the government inheriting all your assets shouldn’t be one of them. If you die without a valid will written, the rules of the state law will be followed on who inherits what.
Your spouse and children are in the first in line. While the rules can vary from state to state, generally, the surviving spouse and children all share the deceased’s assets. Having a will prepared, however, means you get to decide how much they receive. You don’t want a five-year-old inheriting a third of your estate, do you? Your assets may end up with the state but only when you have no relatives that can be found.
Myth: Probate takes years
Truth: Estate planning doesn’t take years to resolve, in fact, the only delay is you would experience is the period given by the state for creditors to file their claim. The length of time can vary from state to state but it usually ranges anywhere from three months to a year. Once the waiting period is over, the estate can be closed after a representative has gathered all the necessary assets and paid any lingering debts or taxes. It can take a few more months to get these in order, but most of the time, probate in Perth, WA can be finished in a year.
Myth: It’s best to leave all my assets to my spouse
Truth: This may seem like the most logical decision, there are a number of factors to consider. What if your spouse subsequently remarries? Or what if they get into trouble and lose the lot? What if your spouse has children or has step-children with their new partner? There are a lot of options you can consider to protect your legacy and your children without disadvantaging your spouse.
Brook Legal can guide you in wills and probate in Perth. We understand how difficult it can be to do so, as it can seem like you are staring at the end of your own mortality, but we can help you through the entire process. Schedule a consultation today.