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All Things About Wills And Estate Planning You Never Want To Know

I recently had the privilege of interviewing Rohani Bixler, an experienced lawyer and Principal at Sage, specialising in Wills, Trusts, and Estates. With over a decade of practical experience and a background in psychology, Rohani brings a unique blend of expertise and interpersonal skills to estate planning. Keep reading as we dive deeper into the world of wills and estate planning.

Rohani's Journey as a Wills and Estate Lawyer

Rohani is a wills and estate lawyer who helps people plan what happens to their belongings and loved ones after they pass away. She ensures that their family, including children and pets, are cared for and helps them secure their assets for the future. Rohani has been practising this area of law for 17 years, finding joy in the diversity of people she works with and the problem-solving aspect of her job. She values the personal connections she forms with clients and finds fulfilment in guiding them through happy moments, like creating wills, and challenging times, such as estate litigation.

Understanding the Significance and Complexity of Wills

Understanding the significance and complexity of wills is crucial as it goes beyond the person who is passing. It allows individuals to have their final say and leave a meaningful legacy. Periodically updating wills is important, considering changes in relationships or family dynamics, to ensure the desired distribution of assets. Seeking legal advice for wills is essential to navigating the complexities, such as the impact of divorce, blended families, tax implications, and structuring assets to minimise disputes and provide for loved ones effectively.

While writing a will might seem simple, the expertise and guidance of a lawyer are invaluable in exploring options, understanding implications, and avoiding misconceptions that could lead to costly legal challenges in the future.

The Importance of Having a Will Through Real-Life Stories

Real-life stories highlight the importance of having a will. For example, a woman who went through a difficult divorce and fought for custody of her children may neglect to make a will, assuming she won't die because she needs to be there for her kids. However, suppose she passes away without a will. In that case, her ex-partner may gain control of her estate, including decisions about her burial, the children's finances, and the fate of her assets.

Another scenario involves a person in a de facto relationship whose partner's parents took control after his passing, ignoring the partner's wishes for cremation. If there's no will specifying an executor or decision-maker, ensuring the deceased's intentions are honoured becomes challenging. Therefore, having a will is crucial to avoid such legal consequences and ensure that assets are distributed according to the person's wishes.

Encouraging Your Partner to Discuss Wills and Estate Planning

When discussing wills and estate planning with your partner, it's important to ensure it is done correctly to provide security. Updating your will as circumstances change is essential. Initiating this conversation can be challenging, especially if your partner is reluctant. Finding the right approach, such as emphasising trust, peace of mind, and the potential difficulties that may arise without a will, can encourage your partner to consider estate planning, ultimately saving money and ensuring a smoother process.

A will is important as it safeguards individuals' wishes and prevents potential legal consequences. In addition, it is crucial to comprehend the complexity of wills, as they provide a final say and a meaningful legacy. Regularly updating wills is essential to accommodate relationship changes and ensure desired asset distribution. Seeking legal advice for wills is invaluable, considering factors like divorce, blended families, taxes, and asset structuring. When discussing wills with a partner, approaching the conversation with trust, peace of mind, and avoiding future difficulties can encourage estate planning and ensure a smoother process.

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