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 lawyers office (only they're not quite sure which lawyers 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 Adulting.  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.

But it's only useful if the will you have actually holds up...

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;

Step 1: Find a lawyer who will 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 listen to your instructions.  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.

 

Step 2: Understand no matter how simple you think your life is, it’s not.

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 a significant other, superannuation, a business, property, kids, pets, investments, insurance, loans, vehicles and/or any other financial, emotional or personal assets, you owe it to yourself to protect them properly.  And a DIY will kit from the post office won’t do that in any way shape or form. And you are most certainly not covered by scribbling your wishes on the back of a napkin the night before you go off on boozy a boys' weekend.

You can read more about DIY wills HERE

 

Step 3: Have the hard CONVERSATIONS with your people whilst you're alive.

It’s an uncanny thing; the more people open up about death the better they get at talking about life.

As a family lawyer, it used to be my voice families heard, reading through the will of their loved one, trying to interpret their life, picking through the ruins, defending the hurt they’d inflicted.

Now I sit and let 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…

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

 

Step 4: As the story of your life changes, so too should your will.

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!

 

Step 5: Provide don’t punish.

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.  Their wills provide for their family they’re not being used as a weapon to reward or punish, to cast judgement or metre out revenge.

 

 

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

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