Australian tech company for end-of-life planning services, Safewill, has revealed startling statistics highlighting the urgent need for proper estate planning among Australians. According to independent research commissioned by Safewill, almost half of all Australians (48%) don’t have a Will, and 43% don’t have one despite having significant financial assets.
What were the findings of Safewill’s research?
The study also uncovered that a quarter of all Australians with children don’t have a Will. These staggering figures means about 10 million Australians may leave their families without money or other assets in a time of need, and children without legally appointed guardians.
Writing a Will has historically been considered a complicated and expensive process. Yet from the time we start accumulating assets or have dependents, we should all have a Will in place.
Research revealed that two in five Australians (40%) don’t have a Will because they have no idea where to start. Over a third (37%) of Australians haven’t even thought about getting a Will, and over a quarter of Australians with assets valued at $1.5 million or more, don’t have a Will. Of those with assets valued at $750,000 or more, 31% do not have a Will.
Age proves to be no barrier to this trend. Among individuals aged 35-44, 52% lack a Will despite owning substantial assets. This pattern persists among those over the age of 35, where one in three respondents have not engaged in proper estate planning.
Safewill’s latest research report also revealed that 79% of the Australians surveyed are unaware of what happens to one’s estate after dying without a Will. 26% assume assets will automatically be left to the next of kin, 18% assume assets will be left to a partner or children, and 6.2% believe that the assets will automatically be claimed by the government.
What are Safewill’s thoughts on the findings?
“The statistics revealed by our research are alarming and underscore the pressing need for Australians to take decisive action when it comes to safeguarding their life’s work and the future of their loved ones,” commented Adam Lubofsky, Founder and CEO at Safewill.
“Proper estate planning is a gift we leave behind for our loved ones and this study has shown there is a huge gap in understanding how important that is. We believe every Aussie deserves the peace of mind that comes with a well-structured Will – that’s why we’ve launched Free Wills Week, to empower Australians to secure their family’s future with ease and confidence.”
“One common misconception we have uncovered is that many believe their assets will automatically be distributed to their loved ones. However, this is far from the truth. In reality, the process is much more complex. If a person passes away without a Will, their estate will be distributed according to a government statutory formula,” Adam further commented.
“This formula may often call for a distribution that is different to how a person would have chosen to divide their estate under a Will. In the absence of a valid Will their next of kin will also need to navigate a more complex process to administer the estate (known as Letters of Administration). This can be a time-consuming and expensive legal procedure, which could potentially cause significant delays and expense in asset distribution and finalising the estate.”
“It’s a scenario we aim to help Australians avoid through initiatives like Free Wills Week, which offers accessible and efficient solutions for a critical aspect of their family’s future,” he said.
In an effort to try and improve these appalling statistics, Safewill is launching a proactive initiative, called Free Wills Week, taking place between 4 – 10 September 2023. During this week, all Australians will be able to write their Will free of charge through Safewill’s platform.
For more information regarding Safewill and Free Wills Week, head to this website.