Men's Health Week highlights importance of estate planning

Date: Jun 13, 2014

There is never a bad time to start estate planning, but this week is a good reminder for men in particular to make sure they have a will, or at least have begun thinking about the future.

Men's Health Week began on June 9 and extends until June 15, and highlights the need to improve the mental, social and physical health of Australian men and illustrates how their health impacts other parts of their lives such as family or work.

Statistically, health outcomes for men in Australia are significantly worse than for women. They are over represented in a number of causes of death including suicide, car accidents, Parkinson's disease and most cancers.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, a boy born in the last three years can expect to live to the age of 79.9 years, compared to 84.3 years for a baby girl. It has also been well documented by research that men suffer more illnesses, die earlier and are involved in more accidents during life.

This is why this week is a good reminder to all men to not only better look after themselves and be aware of different medical conditions, but also make sure there are provisions in place for when the worst happens.

There is a tendency from some men to avoid estate planning or creating a will because they don't believe they will need one in the near future. The statistics suggest, however, that it is imperative to plan in advance as you never know what can happen.

First steps in estate planning

If you haven't started planning, the first port of call would be an estate lawyer who can begin to draw up a will and discuss your current situation.

Estate planning is a much larger process than just a will - which is why it is recommended to consult a lawyer instead of attempting to create one yourself. It can also include your life insurance, superannuation beneficiaries and nominating a power of attorney and a power of guardianship.

In the event that you and your spouse die, it is best that you have also discussed with family and friends about who will take responsibility for your children and who could provide them with the best necessities of life.

Once your estate planning is underway you should keep all important documents safe in a place that is accessible to your family and/or your executor/s or lawyers.