Being Strong Willed In 5 Easy Steps

The world is full of people walking around feeling confident they’re winning at Adulting because they think they have a good will, when in actual fact they don’t.  Discover why being strong willed isn't just about the piece of paper and how you can muscle up and make your will do the heavy lifting.

Strong Willed

"Good estate planning means making the business of living as easy as possible for the people you love when you’re no longer there".

In my experience, the world is full of people walking around feeling confident they’ve unlocked Adulting Level 7 because they have a will safely tucked away in a bank deposit box, stashed in an envelope in the top-draw of their desk or sitting somewhere in a lawyer's office (only they're not quite sure which lawyer's office, which could prove problematic).

Perhaps they are rightly smug.  Having a will is unarguably a high ranking level when it comes to the Game of Life.  Ensuring your loved ones are looked after on the off chance you don’t make it to lunchtime, is a very grown-up thing indeed.

However, a will is only useful if it actually holds up AFTER you've died.

And that's where most smug will makers come unravelled.

It's not just the mechanics

Good estate planning doesn't simply consider the mechanics of the law to the exclusion of all else, it means asking yourself the (admittedly hard) question "What do I want life to look like if I died next year", and then putting plans in place to make that outcome a reality by making a strong will.

Strong wills generally don't end up being contested in court because ALL eventualities and people have been considered.

Strong wills ensure all the important people are looked after when you’re no longer around to care for them yourself.

Strong wills tell the people you love you cared enough to do the hard work when you were alive, and not leave it up to them to argue, fight, defend, interpret or guess your wishes in your absence.

Here's how you can become strong willed in 5 easy steps;

Strong Willed #1: find a lawyer to interpret your wishes BEFORE you're dead

Lawyers make a lot of money interpreting the wishes of dead people.

A good estate planner will take the time to get to know you. They’ll ask you questions you didn’t even know you needed to include answers to in your will.Then they’ll walk you step-by-step through ALL the legal implications of your choices before drawing up a will that truly reflects your wishes.

Good estate planning isn't simply taking instructions and then sorting out the fall out after you're dead.  Good estate planning means translating the nuances and emotions of your life into a will that will hold up after you're dead - without interpretation.

You can read more about Plain English wills HERE

Strong Willed #2: there's no such thing as a 'simple will' because there's no such thing as a simple life

I’m yet to meet a person whose life can be neatly packaged up into a 26 question online will template. If the sum total of your assets are a widescreen TV and a set of steak knives, feel free to gallop down the DIY path.

If however, you’re like 90% of people I meet and have any combination of the following:

> a significant other
> an estranged family member
> care obligations
> assets or investments
> a house
> superannuation
> a business
> a property
> children and/or pets
> insurance
> loans
> vehicles
> a digital footprint
> and/or any other financial, emotional or personal assets

You owe it to yourself to protect them properly.

A DIY will kit from the post office might make it seem simple NOW but it won’t be simple at the other end when your family are left navigating courts and lawyers.

And if you think your life can be adequately covered by scribbling your wishes on the back of a napkin the night before you go off on boozy a boys' weekend, you're very much mistaken.

You can read more about DIY wills HERE

Strong Willed #3: be BRAVE enough to have the hard conversations with your people whilst you're alive

Talking about death is hard but even harder is having conversations about the contents of your will - partly because we've been taught that wills are top secret (they're not) and partly because we've come to rely on wills as a convenient mechanism to both reward and punish our people, in a way that will makers don't have to deal with the fall out.

I can't even count the number of times I've sat opposite a family member reeling from the realisation that they've been punished in a parent's will and the only right of reply they have is to go to court and fight for what is their legal right.

BRAVE is kind.  Brave is having the hard conversations BEFORE you die.  Brave is knowing you have legal responsibilities to look after certain people in your will and if you don't, then they will fullfil your prophecy and go after you in court.  Because you were too gutless to let them go after you when you were alive.

But here's another thing.  When people start talking about death the most uncanny thing happens; the better they get at talking about life.

My strong willed people use their own voices to talk about their own life; what it looks like, what it’s been, what they dream of and wish for, what shape it will take at the end…  They don't wait until after they're dead to let lawyers be their voice for them.

Being ‘willed’ is only one part of being strong willed. The strength is in the talking.

Strong Willed #4: as the story of your life changes, so too should your will

We all know the saying about life and the one constant being there is no constant.

Strong willed people update their documents every couple of years as their life circumstances change.  They know life isn’t set and forget and their wills are a chance to celebrate moving through all the levels of Adulting!

Your will is a legal synopsis of your life.  Don't let your will only reflect the first few chapters.

Read more about when to update your will HERE

Strong Willed #5: grief and surprises are not a tasty combo

If revenge is a dish best served cold, then grief is a dish best served without a side of surprise.

Strong willed people are happy to leave their will out for all to see because they’re not leaving any nasty surprises that need to stay hidden until judgement day. They're not hidden away in a drawer like a ticking time bomb.

The very best wills get talked about, nutted over, families know where they're kept and what's tucked inside of them, so when the time comes to use them there are no nasty surprises to deal with on top of the grief of losing their person.



In a world where you can be anything, be strong willed (and kind).

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