So, you like your partner enough to move in together – but do you love them enough to give them a couple hundred thousand dollars if you suddenly die?
The worst phone call I’ve received in my career is from a grieving mother whose 20-something son had tragically passed away while on holiday. She was calling to find out if he had a Will. Even though for the past couple of years I’d repeatedly recommended he complete a Will, to my knowledge he never got around to it. I guess it never seemed important enough.
You might think you don’t own much so don’t need a Will. Or maybe you assume your parents and/or siblings will automatically receive your money. That may not be true.
Have you checked the death benefit amount in your superannuation? It may be higher than you think due to automatic insurance cover you receive when you joined the fund.
If you live with someone with whom you are romantic, then it’s possible they could legally be considered your de facto spouse.
Parents and siblings are not among the class of superannuation beneficiaries. Under superannuation law your live-in lover may be the only eligible beneficiary for your balance and insurance payout.
If you love your partner, but not yet that much, then you may prefer your parents and/or siblings to receive your money.
To make that happen there are two steps you need to take:
- In your superannuation make a valid non-lapsing binding beneficiary nomination for your estate (aka legal personal representative by some funds)
- Execute a valid Will nominating your desired beneficiaries
The above steps are very important even if you don’t live with your lover. Without the above documents your money could be tied up in legal formalities for months or longer. Plus your estate planning is probably the last thing on your mind when you’re planning to move in with someone – so for peace of mind do it now.
Before you rush off and buy a cheap Will Kit from the newsagent or post office watch this video from lawyer, Tara Lucke about why those Wills are inadequate. Spend a few hundred dollars with an estate planning lawyer and get your first Will done right. (While you’re there also appoint enduring powers of attorney and guardianship.)
One final tip: In Australia marriage nullifies your Will so refresh the above steps before you walk down the aisle.