Happy Birthday To You!

My friend’s eldest son turned 18 years old this month, and he commented to me how much he enjoyed having a celebratory beer and a chat together whilst on holidays.

There are a lot of things you can do when you become an adult besides legally drinking a cold one – get your driver’s licence, vote, go to the Casino and gamble away the savings you have earned at your part-time job at Maccas, marry your high school sweetheart, be called up for jury duty, sign a contract to buy a home (although you are unlikely to be able to afford it), and ….. drum roll ….. MAKE A WILL.

Most young adults would respond to this with the retort “I don’t own anything and I’m broke, so I don’t need a will”. Not true.

Here are a few excellent reasons for young people to have their own estate plan, and they have very little to do with how much money they have in their bank account:

  1. You want to give money or possessions to specific relatives, friends or charities. If you die without a will, the intestacy laws will dictate who will receive your assets.
  1. If you have superannuation and life insurance, your estate could end up significantly larger than you expect.
  1. You want to protect your family from red tape. If you die without a will, your next of kin may have to apply for letters of administration rather than you appointing someone to act on your behalf in the event of death under your will.
  1. You may receive an inheritance.
  1. You own an animal. If you died unexpectedly, what would happen to your beloved pet?
  1. You have social media accounts. Many people spend a great deal of time online, conversing with friends, storing important photos and documents, and managing finances. Without instructions from you, will your family know what to do with your Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts?
  1. You care about what happens to you if you are in a coma or otherwise incapacitated, and you want to appoint someone to make decisions for you if you can’t make decisions for yourself.

It doesn’t need to be overly complicated, but a simple estate plan including a will, enduring power of attorney documents, and superannuation nominations, could save a whole lot of heartache down the track.

For parents of young adults reading this, it may sound like a bit of a lame 18th birthday present, but it is actually a pretty cool conversation to have with your young adult as you clink glasses at the local pub.

If this article has raised questions for you, the team at Partners Legal can help.  
This article contains information that is general in nature. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation and needs before making any decisions based on this information.