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You need a Will because a Will is the only way you have of giving personal property, land and money to the people that you choose after you have died.

A Will is an essential part of your financial, tax and succession planning. It can protect your estate from being whittled away by tax and other burdens. It can better preserve the things that you have worked so hard to leave for your children or other close relatives or friends. The process of making a Will has become more complicated as a result of increasingly complex finances and the changing nature of families. Assets such as superannuation, investment properties, managed investments and share portfolios are increasingly complex. Second marriages, often including stepchildren, and de facto relationships and the impact of family provision legislation (which widens the range of people who can challenge a Will) also add to the complexities.

You can set up alternative arrangements to come into effect if, for example, all your family are killed in the same accident. While such accidents are unlikely, they do happen.

In a Will you can organise the best possible provision for young children, a disabled person or even protect a beneficiary who may become bankrupt. If you leave orphaned children under 18, you can choose someone you know and trust to be their legal guardians. They will probably be people who have had contact with your children over the years. Appointing guardians in your Will minimises disruption and stress for your children and family.

If the terms of your Will cannot be carried out, or there are no beneficiaries left, you can leave everything to one or more charities of your choice, rather than have it go to the government by default.

In your Will you can appoint people that you trust to carry out the directions in the Will. These people are the executors. It is common to appoint alternative executors in case the ones you first choose cannot perform the task. They might, for example, be dead or ill or incapacitated at the time of your death.

If you do not leave a Will, your property will be distributed according to a formula in the legislation of the State or Territory where you live. The distribution is made by the person whom the court appoints as an administrator. Those who die without a Will run a greater risk that the outcome does not work as they would have wanted, or to the satisfaction of those who are left.