MUCH as we may not like to think about it, the one certainty of life is that we'll eventually die.
Whether we prefer to say we'll give up the ghost, kick the bucket, buy a one-way ticket or go to our eternal rest, we all do it one day.
In life we like to think we are in control of our destiny, as much as possible. We like to think we can spend our money as we wish and have our wishes met, subject to legal, moral and financial considerations.
And why should it be any different after we die.
Sadly without a legally binding will there may be Buckley's chance of your wishes being met after you've gone to the great beyond.
In fact, the distribution of your estate could become one great bun-fight which is likely to end up costing a fortune in legal fees and cause more heart-ache to your already grieving family.
Yet many people put off doing the simple exercise of making a will which can ensure their wishes are met and bring piece of mind to themselves and those they love.
Making a will does not need to cost a fortune
It's generally advised that you don't make a DIY will especially if you have substantial assets or your wishes are complex.
You can get your will prepared by a lawyer or by the Trustee and Guardian in your state. Ringing around to get quotes is a useful first step.
T and G fees for wills vary between states and there may be discounts for concession card holders.
In NSW age pensioners and seniors health care card holders can also contact the Council on the Ageing NSW which operates a low-cost ($50 per document for wills, enduring powers of attorney and enduring guardianship) service throughout many parts of the state.
And remember, you should update your will if there are any changes to your wishes or assets.
Where to keep your will
And once you've gone to the time, effort and expense of making a will, what then do you do with it?
Some people squirrel it away somewhere so safe they eventually forget where it is, or keep it at home where it can be destroyed by fire, tampered with or stolen.
A will stored in a safety deposit box can be almost impossible for family to get hold of if they don't have legal access to the box, and those stored with a lawyer can be lost in transition if the business is sold or the lawyer dies.
And while some testators make the whereabouts of their will known to their executors, others keep information about their will a secret.
Many states have will banks or will safes operated by the Trustee and Guardian where a will can be securely stored in both a paper and digital copy. Storage fees vary and some states offer free or discounted storage.
- Read more: The whys and wherefores of wills
- Read more: Noel Whittaker explains the correct approach to estate planning