MrsBart, making a will is INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT!!!
My husband died very suddenly at the age of 34. His affairs were pretty uncomplicated; we were legally married and living together at the time, he had not been married before and had no children aside from the two we had together. Most of our property (house, bank accounts etc) was in joint names. He left a professionally drawn up, valid will.
When I rang up to arrange things like changing the insurance and the electricity account from his name to mine, the first question was always "Did he have a will?". Always asked with a tension in the voice, the CSR was obviously bracing themselves. I replied "yes he did", they let out a sigh of relief and said "well, that makes things very easy". Leaving a will makes it easier for your survivors to alter the electricity account?
Apparently it does.
My in-laws were funeral directors and had more stories than I cared to hear about people whose survivors were grossly disadvantaged by the lack of a will. A particularly dangerous situation is if someone has married, separated from their spouse but never legally divorced them
. If you die without a will in such a situation, your estranged spouse is your legal next-of-kin. Your blood family or defacto partner would have to wage a court battle to prevent said spouse walking away with your assets. Same-sex couples have no legal rights at all (under Australian law) if one dies intestate.
Sorry, MrsBart. This is my soapbox. Getting off it now. But please, please, please keep that particular NYR.