The Most Important Appointment Almost Every Australian Fails To Make

There are families who are generally happy and simply live their lives as mum, dad and the kids. There are also families with parents having relationship problems, family members refusing to speak with each other, families who constantly bicker or whatever the case may be and these different types of family units might not all be nice but they are normal.

Yep, it’s normal to have a batshit crazy family and regardless of this craziness, whoever is reading this right now, probably The Alpha Parent, is devoted to their family and love their kids even though sometimes they can be downright little buggers.

What I have learnt is that in every normal crazy household there is always The Alpha Parent, typically (but not always) known as ‘Mum’, the parental figure who is unknowingly assigned ALL of the parenting duties which of course the shit ones are against their will but they do them anyway, or if they are lucky enough they filter these shit jobs down to the other parent, typically (but not always) known as ‘Dad’, sorry guys.

Who is The Alpha Parent in your house? Who kisses the scraped knees better, who shoo’s away the monster from under the bed, who makes the kids do the dishes and pick up the dog poo? Who breaks up the squabbles and handle’s the boredom? Who washes the dishes and picks up the dog poo because it was never done in the first place? Who manages things like medical expenses, tuition fees, clothes, bills and food?

Thinking of your gorgeous little terrors children here is a horrible but possible scenario – All of a sudden you weren’t around, you just vanished from their lives in an instant.

“What is this bird getting at?!”

It is highly likely you are the one in two people in Australia who haven’t got their shit together. Cue “Crap! I was going to do that last week/month/year but I forgot. I was busy. You know – life”.

You haven’t got a Will.

You still haven’t got that damn piece of paper, or 20, that determines what happens to the kids if you, your partner or both of you were no longer there for your children.

Do you know what happens when you are no longer here and you haven’t bothered with making a Will for your family?

Your debts are passed on to the people you love, DEBTS. The guy you lived with for 5 years when you left high school learns of the terribly sad news and demands a piece of the cake, that dickhead could take what money you do have away from your children. Crazy Aunt Maude could swindle your entire collection of Val Dor despite you promising it to your eldest daughter, and speaking of your eldest daughter, crazy Aunt Maude could also swindle the care of her and your other children away from family members you feel would be better suited for their care.

  • But if I die the kids will automatically go to their mother/father/grandparents. WRONG
  • But if I die my money and assets will automatically go to my husband/wife and kids. WRONG
  • But if we both die the kids will go to the grandparents and they will get everything. WRONG
  • But I told my family what I wanted to happen if we died so it’s ok. WRONG
  • But I have one of those post office will kits so it’s ok. WRONG

Ok, so these situations may not all exactly be wrong and the worst case scenarios may not all exactly be right, but in certain circumstances they could be. I had a chat with a Wills & Estates lawyer the other day and we talked about common mistakes people make when they think of their affairs if the worst were to happen. I’m glad I did speak to him by the way as one or two of those examples may or may not have been my own, eeek!

But if I die the kids will automatically go to their mother/father/grandparents.

But if I die my money and assets will automatically go to my husband/wife and kids.

But if we both die the kids will go to the grandparents and they will get everything. WRONG

If these situations were to happen and you didn’t bother to make a Will, it’s this thing called ‘Dying Intestate’, not to be confused with dying interstate – two completely different things. Intestate or Intestacy is when a person passes away with no Last Will and Testament in place so their estate is passed on to their next of kin according to some special statutory order, whereby family members you don’t like or speak to could inherit your assets even though you did not intend it for them to receive anything. Scary? Yes.

In saying this, an intestacy does not determine guardianship of children. So what happens to your children if you were to pass away with no Will, if you died intestate? Worst case scenario they could be held in state care, otherwise family generally come together to look after the kids until their guardianship is determined by the courts as it is the courts that decide who will be their guardians, and it could possibly crazy Aunt Maude.

But I told my family what I wanted to happen if we died so its ok. WRONG

As far as the law goes this is not binding regardless of your wishes as it would be merely here say, unless it were a voice recording clearly recognisable as you, stating who you were and what your wishes were should you pass away then it could work, possibly, maybe.

But I have one of those post office will kits so its ok. WRONG

Whilst these are great to use as a guide and better to have than nothing they are not entirely failsafe. They are designed for people to fill in the blanks and if you are not experienced with how to write a Will then it is a formula for disaster and could be contested where loopholes are found.

After thinking about frequently asked questions from people who, like me, weren’t sure where to start when wanting to create a Will, I have a simple 4 step guide to getting your Will in place quicker than the supermarkets had hot cross buns on the shelves after Christmas;

1.     Call a reputable lawyer specialising in Wills and Estates – Google is a good place to start looking in your local area.

2.     Make a consultation appointment

3.     Take home, carefully read then fill in the forms they will provide to you. The main points to consider are;

a)     Who will be the executor of your Will (A trusted person who oversees the process to ensure your wishes are met accordingly)

b)     Who will be the guardian of your children (Carer to ensure all their needs are met according to your wishes)

4.     Return for final appointment to finalise and sign your Will

*Tip: Generally the appointment costs are absorbed into the cost of making a Will so don’t be put off making your appointments. Speak to your lawyer to confirm they will do this for you.

BOOM – You now have a Will.

How much does it cost to make a Will? It is estimated roughly between $250-350 for a single and $450-550 for a couple based on a simple Will. These amounts may seem a little out there for the everyday you and me however the cost is much greater on the other end of the pointy stick when it’s your children being held in state care, fought over in the courts by crazy Aunt Maude and the kids loving grandparents.

Now please do yourself a big favour right now; go to the calendar of your phone. Go to tomorrow’s date. Open a new reminder. Set the time for 10am with a loud as my husband snoring annoying ring tone. Type “Family Will – sort your shit out or the kids will get nothing and go to crazy Aunt Maude”.

Click save. Stick to it.

Avatar of New Mumma Kim

Kim is 29 years old. She has been with her husband for 15 years and married for 8. They have a son who is a cheeky toddler constantly testing their parenting abilities. She loves gardening, eating, bootcamp and sleeping. She hates rude people, alarm clocks and buying cards for presents.

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