If you’re 18 or above and reading this, you should know that writing a will isn’t something that only old people do. It’s a daunting thought putting one together but life’s funny sometimes and it’s always best to be prepared.
It’s taken the passing away of a dear friend, a pandemic and my closing in on 30 to make me realise that getting my life in order is really quite important. I don’t think I’m invincible — I’ve seen enough tragedy to keep me in check, but I do know I’m ill-prepared for a lot things in life, and that includes having a will.
Why do I need a will?
In Australia and probably most places across the globe, the legal age to write a will is 18. While it’s uncomfortable thinking about death and preparing for it when you’re young, if the 2020 pandemic has taught us anything is you can never take life for granted.
Besides, even if you don’t have property, money or any other valuable assets, having a will can save your family a bunch of money, time and arguments as they figure out what to do with your other material possessions — phone, laptop, jewellery — after you have passed away.
It’s best to leave stuff behind to the people you want, especially if their needs are greater. Alternatively, you might think your family’s doing just fine and giving things to charity might be a better option. Either way, you want to be across this to avoid confusion and conflict.
Unfortunately in Australia, there’s no specific legislation covering digital estate and succession planning so your photos, social media accounts, blog and whatever else fits the bill, may remain locked away online. Even if you leave someone with your login details, they could be in breach of service terms and things could get messy.
How do I write one?
It’s best to seek official advice when we talk about wills and stuff. And that means going to the Australian Government website first up. When you get to it, click on the link for the state you’re residing in to read up on the laws and all the how-tos. It’s updated with relevant COVID-19 information and all the steps you’ll have to take to get the matter sorted.
There are plenty of DIY templates and will kits online but you’ll need to do thorough research before opting for one. Perhaps you have a lawyer friend who can help you out.
Either way, don’t hesitate for too long in getting your will sorted, even if you think you’re too young. And as a Lifehacker reader pointed out, “it’s worth mentioning that a will is rendered invalid once you get married. Having written it, you need to update it periodically to account for changes in your circumstances.”