Australia's high life expectancy doesn't mean you should forget estate planning

Date: Nov 14, 2013

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just published a report that may be of some interest to those in the process of estate planning.

It shows that people are living much longer than they used to, and that deaths rates across the country are at an all-time low.

Bjorn Jarvis, director of demography at the ABS, said that males now have a life expectancy of approximately 79.9 years, while females could expect to live almost five years longer.

These numbers hold true for boys and girls born in 2013, and put Australia's "life expectancy at birth" rate among the highest in the world.

If you are approaching retirement age (65 years old) now, said Mr Jarvis, you may live for another 19 years (male) or 22 years (female).

Australia's life expectancy rate is higher than the United Kingdom's, the United States' and even New Zealand's.

In addition to this, the overall death rate in Australia has plummeted to 5.5 deaths per 1,000 people. This is the lowest it's ever been, and a far cry from that recorded back in 2002 (6.8 deaths per 1,000 people).

While these statistics indicate they can expect to live longer, that doesn't mean you should put estate planning at the back of your mind.

It's always best to be prepared, otherwise - should the worst happen - you will have no say in where or to whom your assets go.

You also leave yourself open to estate disputes, which can result in unnecessary discord among your family and close friends.

If you die without having prepared a will, this is known as dying "intestate".

This term can also apply if you do have a will, but it does not properly dispose of all your assets, is poorly drafted, has not been signed or witnessed or it can be proved that you were not of sound mind when you created it.

According to NSW Trustee and Guardian, intestate matters can be extremely complicated. In general, your assets will be distributed among your family according to a "pre-determined formula" that may or may not reflect your wishes.

New legislation surrounding intestate was introduced in 2010, which you may want to discuss with an estate lawyer.

The team at Craddock Murray Neumann are more than happy to answer any questions you may have about estate planning and how to dispute a will - so get in touch with us today.