At 26 years of age, I am prepared to die. Not that I want to, just that I have taken the grown-up step of writing a Will.
Being a healthy young person living life to its fullest, dying is the last thing on my mind, but I’ve experienced more than my fair share of death. In an unhealthy moment I counted more than 13 funerals I’d attended, spanning across ages from 11 weeks to 19, 50 and 98.
Loss and grief are nasty reminders of your own mortality but while death is sad and sometimes tragic, it is always inevitable.
I know what you’re thinking: what’s the point? Like many people my age I’m unmarried with no children, property (in the current market? You’re dreaming) or valuables. My superannuation is not super, it took a solid minute to realise there’s nothing in my jewelry box, and my fourth-hand car was the same price as my MacBook - which I wouldn’t leave to anyone.
But the circumstances around death could mean compensation payouts, which I want to ensure support my grieving loved ones.
Ben Catanzariti, a local from my hometown, was just 21 when he was killed in a workplace incident in 2012. Like 45 per cent of Australians he didn’t have a valid Will.
Ben’s family were unaware he was in a serious relationship until his girlfriend claimed the workers compensation and was awarded a payout of more than $200,000. She proved financial dependence and her evidence included text messages, love letters and an emergency contact listing. Ben’s family are still fighting an expensive legal battle.
If you die without a Will or “intestate”, it can result in a complicated process where the law’s pre-determined formula does not guarantee inclusion of the people you intended.