I love this statement; “I’m not quite ready to write my Will”. Sometimes it is said in the context of “I’m not quite ready to die” but more often it means that the person’s family and financial situation hasn’t settled down enough to consider writing their Last Will and Testament.
There’s a sense of finality in the expression “Last Will and Testament”. It implies that this is it – this document is my final expression of how I would like my assets to be distributed when I die. It conversely implies that if you haven’t reached your final situation, you shouldn’t be writing your final wishes.
This of course is nonsense. A Will should not be written once in a lifetime. It should be reviewed and updated and modified every time there is a change in personal or financial circumstances. For a person to say that they are not ready to write their Will because for example, they hope to have a greater net worth this time next year, doesn’t make any sense. Some people put off writing a Will because they hope to have children in the future and they don’t want to go through the hassle of having to update all of their documents. This is an extremely dangerous approach to estate planning.
It would be great if lawyers would charge to draw up a Will which included unlimited updates, but unfortunately this isn’t the case. It’s quite possible that on your way home from the lawyer’s office there could be a change in your personal or financial circumstance, or a change to the circumstances of your named Executor, Guardian for your children or even a beneficiary, that may warrant a change to your Will. You may even suddenly realise that you’ve forgotten something or somebody and should be included in your Will.
Maybe that’s why people postpone and procrastinate on writing their Last Will and Testament, because they only want to do it once.
At LegalWills we encourage people to have a Will in place now. Everybody is then given a year to make sure that they haven’t forgotten something and for that year they can make unlimited updates to the document. Each time a change is made, the document is just printed and signed in the presence of witnesses to create a new Last Will and Testament. Then, we encourage people to review the document on an annual basis. This is just a matter of logging into the account, making appropriate changes, and creating a revised Last Will and Testament. Some of our clients have done this dozens of times.
Your circumstances will likely never completely stay the same, and certainly the lives of your beneficiaries, Executors, and Guardians will be constantly changing. That’s why you cannot wait until you only have to prepare your Will once. Your Last Will and Testament is simply the last one until the next one is created, and this may be in a few years time, but may be tomorrow.
There is never a good reason to postpone the writing of one’s Last Will and Testament.