The importance of having a will

I vividly recall the first time my “baby” (4 years old) brought up the subject of death. We were driving in the car and he suddenly said, “Mummy, I don’t want to die”, and started to cry. It was a heart-breaking moment for me and I found it difficult to keep it together myself. Especially when his next words were, “… and I don’t want you and Daddy to die.”

The reality is, this is something we all have to face. How you deal with it with your own children is a decision only you can make. Below is some advice from a practical viewpoint on how you can make this process smoother and less stressful for your children.

It’s selfish to not have a will

Everyone over the age of 18 years should have a will. I’ll go so far as to say it’s selfish on your children and your family to not have a will in place. I fully understand that a lot of people put this off just due to the very nature of what it is. But the fact remains, we are all going to die, and should all leave our affairs in the best possible order. Without a will, this usually creates a time-consuming, stressful, not to mention more expensive, time for your family in administering your estate.

Your will is a mechanism to ensure that your wishes are met and carried out with regard to your property and your children. It will leave your children with a degree of certainty and, if you die with infant children (under the age of 18), you can rest easy knowing that you have appointed a guardian to best look out for their rights.

What you need to consider in a will

So, you’ve made the best decision for your children and you are going to make a will. Here are some of the points you need to consider –

  • Who to appoint as your executor(s) – these are the people responsible for proving your will in court (called applying for probate – a paper based process, rarely requiring a court appearance) and then administering your estate pursuant to your will. You want your executors to be trusted people in your life.
  • Guardianship – if you have infant children (under the age of 18 years) you will need to appoint a guardian in your place to make day-to-day decisions on behalf of your infant children. Guardianship does not equate with custody, however your guardians will work with your family to make decisions as to where your children are best-placed to live.
  • Do you have specific funeral/burial instructions? You may express a wish in your will as to how you wish your funeral to be conducted and whether you wish to be buried or cremated.
  • Do you have specific gifts you may wish to make of personal or sentimental value? Examples include cash gifts, gifts of jewellery, gifts of items that have been passed down the generations of your family.
  • Who do you want to receive the balance of your estate? What happens if that person is already deceased or dies at the same time as you (e.g. in a car accident)? You need to make additional provision for what will happen in such a situation (called a gift-over). Usually your estate would be left to your partner/spouse with a gift-over to your children in the event your partner/spouse died before you or at the same time as you.

These are some of the issues you need to consider. Of course, you can add into your will other clauses that are important to you. No two wills need ever be the same.

This article was written by Tania Richards LL.B, BCom, Director at Restieaux Richards.






Tania is pleased to offer a basic will for $150 + GST each for Kidspot followers and readers until 30th April 2018. Please get in contact via email – – if you (and/or your partner) wish to take up this offer. If you have any questions, Tania is happy to answer these via email.

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  1. SarahBlair 31/03/2018 at 8:20 pm

    I need to get a will! My husband and I have 7 kids between us and a mortgage. It’s one of those thing that we know that we have to do but keep putting off. Maybe we should just bite the bullet and do it!

  2. kymmage 31/03/2018 at 12:07 am

    This is the kick I need. We really need to sort this. When the kids were “subsequent children” in our wills it was easy enough to imagine how it might all work if we both passed away. But now they are here and real, they have certain needs that we need to re-think how it will all work out. Lots to discuss with the Mr!

  3. felicity beets 30/03/2018 at 3:49 pm

    Very important to have a will especially if you have children. It was also recommended to me when i went overseas to get a will and also have a power of attorney appointed if I needed.

  4. danielle2211 22/03/2018 at 5:48 pm

    I was talking to a friend who doesn’t have children and she was shocked I didn’t have a will as I have 2 children. After thinking about it reason 1 was the cost, reason 2 I cant really think of a suitable person for my kids to go to if we were both to die. Yes we have family but to pick one person that ticked all the boxes none do. But its good to know the cost can be as little as $150 for a Will, I think its a conversation we should have and see where we stand on the list above.

  5. Kjgee 16/03/2018 at 9:25 am

    We only wrote a will when we purchased our first home last year. I wish we had done it sooner! We have 4 children and it’s important to me that if we both die, they stay together with the family we have chosen (and talked to) to raise them. It’s sad that in the event of death often comes arguments.

  6. Bevik1971 15/03/2018 at 3:11 pm

    Both my partner and myself have wills and as I’m the current bread winner in the family (partner is stay at home Dad) I also have funeral cover. My 5 year old has been asking a lot about death recently, she often says when she is in bed “Mummy will you and Daddy die?” She actually has a pretty good handle on what death is and what it means, but she does get upset when I say, “yes hun everybody dies at some stage”. Some people may not agree being so straight up but I believe in being honest 🙂

  7. Mands1980 15/03/2018 at 12:48 pm

    We have just redone our wills and everyone should have one they are so important. We had no one before now as a guardian for our 3 children to say what to do with our kids if we both died, so now this is in place. Please everybody go dnd get one if you don’t have one already.

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