So last month I urged the young people within our Partners Wealth Group community to do something they are no doubt dying to do (quite literally) – and that is, make a Will.
This month, I would like to share 3 real-life stories with you that highlight the importance of this.
Our advisors and lenders often have clients who come to them wanting to assist their children financially, commonly in purchasing their own home. Bill and Stephanie did just this by purchasing a first home for their daughter Lina and son-in-law Nick on the occasion of their marriage.
Tragically, Lina and Nick died in a light plane crash on their honeymoon – without wills in place! In circumstances where it is impossible to determine who died first, the younger person is deemed to survive the older. By operation of law, jointly owned assets will pass to the younger person. Nick was 22yo, Lina was 23yo at the time of their deaths.
The consequence of all of this is that Nick automatically inherited the home owned jointly by Nick and Lina when they passed away. And under the laws of intestacy, Nick’s parents inherited his estate, including the home funded by Lina’s parents. To make matters worse, Nick’s parents were undergoing a messy divorce and so a large part of the money was chewed up lining lawyers’ pockets!
Single 46-year-old mum Joanne has worked tirelessly in 2 jobs to support herself and her son Dean, to give him the best possible start in life, since Dean’s father had not been in the picture since Dean was a baby.
Two of Joanne’s proudest moments were when she was able to present Dean with a brand spanking new Toyota Hilux ute on his 18th birthday and when Dean successfully finished his electrician’s apprenticeship at the age of 20 years old. Joanne’s parents have also assisted them financially over the years and when Joanne’s Dad died recently, he left a $200,000 legacy to his only grandson Dean.
Dean sadly died in a workplace accident. Under the laws of intestacy, Dean’s parents (his Mum and his estranged father) are to share equally in Dean’s estate, which included his hard-earned savings (he inherited his Mum’s work ethic), his superannuation, his beloved car, and the $200,000 legacy from his grandfather.
Last year I was engaged to apply for letters of administration (like probate when you don’t have a will) for a single 20 year old ‘boy’ who died of a heroin overdose with $200 in the bank and a negligible amount of superannuation from the 4 different super funds attached to the 4 different retail jobs he’d had in the previous few years – plus $630,000 default life insurance through those 4 superannuation accounts.
The sole beneficiary of his estate is his 59-year-old father who is in a nursing home having suffered a series of strokes. All other relatives that could potentially take on the role of administering the young man’s estate live outside Victoria, and so our only real option is to hand the matter over to the public trustee company. His uncle and I are still trying to get the young deceased man’s affairs in order and we have an ongoing battle ahead of us. A simple will appointing the uncle as executor and leaving his estate as he wished would have solved most of the roadblocks we are experiencing.
*Only the Good Die Young was a hit single for Billy Joel on his 1977 album The Stranger