Andrew O'Donnell Edney Ryan LegalWe are regularly surprised at the number of adults we meet who do not yet have a Will. If you have family, or any amount of wealth, or both, you should have a Will. Here we address some of the very common reasons why making a Will is avoided.

Do you dislike lawyers?
Many people do. We’re used to it. That’s why we work efficiently so you have to endure us for as little time as possible. If you die without a Will, your family is going to be spending an extensive amount of time dealing with lawyers to administer your Estate.

Would you prefer to avoid thinking about death?
Many people find it confronting and unpleasant to think about what will happen to their assets after they die. It’s not something we relish either. However, a very short time to plan now will save your family an enormous amount of time later. Not to mention their burden of uncertainty – not knowing what your wishes were. Or arguably worse, you may have two family members with confident yet conflicting ideas about how to distribute your assets. We’ve seen it destroy families, and we’d like you to avoid that scenario. On the other hand, we have clients (typically parents) who are highly motivated to establish a solid estate plan. For these individuals, knowing when they die, that they have provided wealth and clarity for their children, gives them enormous comfort.

Are you unsure how to fairly distribute your estate?
If you are postponing this because you’re finding it tricky to distribute your estate fairly, then what hope does your family have to work it out without you? Once upon a time, a Will simply left all assets to the surviving spouse or grown children. Now, as experienced estate planning lawyers, we are accustomed to making provisions in Wills for an array of relationships and complexities; step-families, re-marriages, children from multiple marriages and everything in between. Your lawyer should be offering you advice on how to customise your estate plan to suit your wishes and circumstances. You don’t need to have the solution before you speak with your lawyer.

You don’t care what happens to your Estate?
Whilst you may not care about how your estate is distributed, you should know the hurdles that your family will have to surmount if you die without a Will. Instead of the usual straightforward process whereby the nominated Executor in your Will applies for probate and distributes your estate, if you die intestate (i.e. without a Will), a suitable administrator must be appointed by the Supreme Court of NSW. The administrator must then establish a family tree using certificate evidence which can be an expensive and time-consuming task. Your estate will subsequently be distributed to relatives according to a pre-determined formula including spouses, children, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. The entire process takes a lot longer for your family than if you had made a simple Will stating your wishes.

You intend to make a Will, but starting is hard?
If “Will” has been on your agenda for too long, try an easy first step – make a list of your assets. Then, make another list of the people who you’d like to benefit from your assets if you were not around. Email, phone or attend one appointment to discuss those lists with your lawyer.

If you need advice, or you’d like to take that first step, please contact Angela Boyd or myself on (02) 9908 9888 or email