There are a number of common misconceptions associated with making a will, including ideas that the process is lengthy and requires stacks of paperwork and a huge level of organisation and planning.
While it is true that making a will does mean planning ahead - you are, after all, deciding what to do with your assets in the event of your death - it is far more desirable to take time to set your wishes out in writing than have your affairs handled by the state.
If you are unsure of where to start when it comes to making a will, you may wish to consult with a trusted wills and estates lawyer.
Experienced lawyers can help you through every stage of preparing a will and have an extensive range of resources that allow you to produce a customised document that perfectly suits your needs.
Your will can make a range of provisions - including setting out who will take on guardianship of any children under the age of 18 to prevent any potential family disputes from arising. The will should ensure the ability of a guardian to retrieve funds from the estate to support any minor children.
A will should also set out an executor - a named individual who will act to carry out its terms. Many people are unsure of the responsibilities of an executor - in short, this person is appointed to act on your behalf to carry out your wishes and protects the assets of your estate.
Your wills and estates lawyer can provide assistance to an executor by informing them - in detail - of their rights and responsibilities and helping them to prepare and complete the documents that are required for a probate application.
A trusted lawyer can also work closely with the executor to identify and collect your assets and offer valuable advice about tax liability and the repayment of debts, as well as assist with drawing up a statement of assets that will be distributed to various beneficiaries.
Your wills and estates lawyer can help you - and your executor - overcome the 'legalese' associated with wills and other legal issues to ensure the process is clear and straightforward.
Some wills and estates lawyers even have associations with licensed financial planners who can help you with a range of other services, including advice on life insurance, income protection insurance, trauma insurance and estate planning.