Australians travelling overseas urged to make a will prior to departure

State Trustees Victoria is urging Victorians with itchy feet to update their wills prior to post-pandemic travel.


International borders are finally reopening after 600 days of closures and Aistralians can make overseas travel plans once again. The excitement of far-flung locations and adventurous activities make it easy to forget there is a chance that something could go wrong while abroad. According to Smartraveller, a staggering 1000-odd Australians die overseas every year, usually through unexpected illness or accidents.


Most Australian families have pre-travel checklists that involve top-of-mind tasks such as renewing passports and purchasing travel insurance. There is one must-have that is often pushed to the bottom of the list – creating or updating your will.


Despite the importance of an up-to-date will, creating one is still low on the priority list for most people, according to a survey commissioned by State Trustees Victoria in 2021. Although 95% of those surveyed agreed it’s important to create a will, they also thought renewing a driver’s licence, organising tax, reviewing health insurance, arranging car servicing, home repairs and renovations are more important things to do.


“It’s understandable that no one likes to think of death, especially when you’re planning something exciting like a holiday, so it can really put people off creating a will. Some people believe they don’t need one or it’s too hard or expensive to do, which is simply not the case,” said Michael Spiegel, General Manager of Trustee Services at State Trustees.


“Unfortunately, people often don’t think about getting a will until something unexpected happens or their circumstances change. However recent events, including the COVID-19 pandemic, have shown life is unpredictable and you’re never too young to get your affairs in order.”


Melbournian Maria Crews is one of many Australians planning to travel this December, having booked flights to reunite with her family in Hawaii after two years apart.


While Maria is no travel novice, this time around she has decided to update her will prior to travelling, ensuring her assets, legacy and young child are kept safe if anything unexpected was to happen.


“If the last two years have taught me anything, it’s that we all need to be prepared for any situation that may come our way,” said Maria.


“You travel to experience new things, and there is no guarantee that everything will go 100% to plan.


“After so many years apart from my parents, I really want to be able to enjoy this break with our family, and not have to worry about any ‘what if’ situations, that’s why I decided to update my will. When I’m sitting on the beach in Hawaii, I will be able to rest and finally have peace of mind knowing that my affairs are in order. After the year we have all had, it’s time to truly unwind with no stress or distractions,” said Maria.


It can be difficult knowing where to start, particularly among the additional checklist of preparing for a trip, but State Trustees takes the guess work out of creating or updating your will.


“Creating a will through State Trustees is easy, affordable and can be completed in as little as thirty minutes. In fact, writing your will can take much less time than renewing your passport, so there is really no reason to put it off any longer” said Mr Spiegel.


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23 November 2021.