Most of us expect to live to a ripe old age, but what if the unexpected happens and we don't? No one can ever predict what's around the corner, which is why it's important to have a Will and mortgage protection insurance in place to protect those we leave behind.
If you die without a Will (this is called intestate), your family may not inherit as you assumed they would because your assets - including property, cars, heirlooms - will be distributed by a pre-determined formula. Each state in Australia has a different process and formula but chances are, it's not the formula you would choose yourself, especially if you have an ex-spouse and children from a previous marriage.
As your mortgage broker we are in a uniquely independent position to advise you about estate planning. A well-thought out plan that documents specific procedures relating to various possibilities can help your family maintain control of assets in the face of tragedy.
The person who inherits your house when you die, for example, will also inherit the mortgage - and is responsible for the debt remaining. Taking out mortgage protection insurance eases this burden because it covers your home loan repayments in the event of death, sickness, unemployment or disability.
There are also right and wrong ways to put a Will together. Here's some tips.
- Update your Will regularly, including changes such as marriage, divorce, buying a business or property. If you are in your second or third marriage, you can instruct your estate to be divided fairly between children from previous relationships.
- Ensure you leave adequate provisions for dependants or your Will may be contested.
- Seek advice on tax implications as these may alter the value of your assets when they are sold off.
- Be wary of putting a Will together without expert advice as it may be declared invalid if not prepared legally.
- Appoint a guardian to look after any children under the age of 18 until they are old enough to look after themselves, otherwise it may be left to the court to decide.