A Will is a legal document that sets out who you want to receive your assets when you die. Making a Will is the only way you can ensure your assets will be distributed according to your wishes when you die. Studies show that at least 45% of Australians do not have a valid Will. If you die without a Will your estate will be distributed according to a pre-determined formula and, if your only living relatives are more distant than cousins, your estate will pass to the government.
While you are entitled to leave your assets to anyone you wish, in some circumstances, friends or relatives who believe they have not been sufficiently provided for are entitled to contest your Will.
People who can contest your Will under Succession Act 2006 are not restricted to your spouse and children. Claimants can include a de-facto partner, any other dependants (such as a grandchild) or a former spouse. The person needs to convince the Court that you failed to make adequate provisions for their maintenance, education or advancement in life.
Under the family provision legislation a claim must commence within 12 months of the date of death of the deceased person but this may extended if sufficient cause can be shown.
An increasing number of people now have complicated family structures such as blended families and second marriages. This may increase the likelihood of your Will being contested. In the event of remarriage or a change in your family structure, it is advisable that you review your Will to reflect the changes.
What is an executor and trustee and what do they do?
An executor of a Will carries out the wishes of a person after they die. The role of the executor is to manage the estate within the terms of the Will and protect the assets of the estate. A trustee looks after ongoing bequests to family and friends for a specific time stated in a Will – for example for your children or grandchildren. The executor and trustee must comply with various laws and rules that govern the administration of deceased estates and trusts.
Our legal team has many years experience in dealing with Wills and Estate matters. From drafting Wills and providing Estate Planning advice, to administering a deceased estate and assisting to contest a Will, we are able to provide professional and compassionate service across these and other related areas.If you’d like more information or if you would like to discuss your Wills and Estate Planning needs. Submit an online enquiry or call us on 1300 QUINNS (1300 784 667) or on +61 2 9223 9166 to arrange an appointment today.