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  • What happens if you don't have a will?
  • When do you need to update your will?

What happens if you don't have a will?

A will gives you peace of mind, knowing that if the worst should happen unexpectedly, your wishes will be carried out.

You can provide for your loved ones and give people the special gifts they'll value.

To understand the importance of this, it can be useful to know what would happen if you died without making a will. This is called “dying intestate” and it can cause a lot of heartache at a difficult time. Here are some of the problems.

Dealing with the estate can take a very long time – it might be months or even years before your loved ones can access the assets.

There's no choice about who gets what. If you're married, your estate will usually go to your current spouse. If you have children, they will also get a share, but your close relatives and friends will get nothing.

If you're not married, your partner won't usually get anything when you die. Instead, your assets will usually be distributed in accordance with applicable intestate succession laws. If you promise special gifts or presents to people, they may not get them.

The state will appoint guardians for any underage children – and these may not be the people you would choose.

When do you need to update your will?

You should consider updating your will whenever your circumstances change.

This might be when:

you have another child

you get divorced or remarry

there is a death in the family

your estate changes in value (for example, if you inherit a property or lose money in a business venture)

your children turn 18

You should review your will from time to time to make sure the contents are up to date and reflect your wishes.