Motherhood is undoubtedly the most rewarding aspect of life for the vast majority of mums. Our whole life is spent guiding, caring for and nurturing our children, to ensure that they are well fed, well educated, and well taken care of emotionally.
Unfortunately, we never know when we will no longer be there to care for our children. Moreover, all our efforts can be severely undermined if we don?t have provisions in place for them for after our unfortunate death. The only way to avoid this, is to have a legal Will in place.
Creating a Will is so important because it?s the only way we can still guide our children when we are no longer able to do so. But, nearly half of all Australian adults pass away without having created a Will, many of whom are mothers. This leaves their children extremely venerable and in the hands of the courts. Making a legal Will can secure your children?s future and avoid the unnecessary court process.
If your children are under the age of 18, writing a Will is so important because you nominate who will take care of your children if you pass away, instead of leaving it to the courts. This is particularly important if you are a single parent or already widowed. By designating who will be their legal guardian, you can have a conversation with the potential guardian so that they are prepared and agreeable to the responsibility. Once you have agreed who it would be, then you might start to spend more time with them or introduce them into your children?s lives from now so that it eases the inevitable heartache later on.
Secondly, you can designate a financial guardian/trustee who will manage your assets for your children until they inherit it. Again, this is important because if you don?t nominate someone, the court will do it for you. Keep in mind that the person whom you appoint as the financial guardian/trustee does not need to be the same person/people who are the legal guardians. It can be if that person is trustworthy and competent, but then, you might prefer to leave it to a third party or a professional.
If your children are over the age of 18, then it is still essential to write a Will. Cast your mind back to all the times that you mediated with your children whenever they got into a squabble because they weren?t sharing. Though now, your uniting and calming influence is no longer in their lives, the most bitter fights can erupt over money, possessions, and sentimental items. If you have designated how everything is to be split up beforehand, you can avoid unnecessary court battles and broken relationships.
Additionally, if you have a child that has special needs that will need to be taken care of, you want to spell that out clearly in a Will, so that they are not neglected or put in care that is below your expectations. Even though your child may not have the capacity to manage money, that does not mean that they are entitled to a lesser amount. You can feel confident to leave them as much as you want so that a trustee or financial manager can manage the funds and assets on their behalf.
If you have any estranged children, then making a Will is also an opportune time to see if the relationship can somehow be mended, or if not, then acknowledgement of the estranged relationship needs to be made in the Will. Your estranged children may still contest the Will, however by stating the reasons why you will not provide for them with an inheritance, you will minimise the legal costs and mental anguish.
As you can see, your responsibility as a parent carries on beyond your life. Creating a Will and Estate Planning is an important step in helping your children in their future and maintaining cordial familial relationships.