A will is a legal document which prescribes what happens to your assets after you die. A validly executed will is the best way to ensure that your family is adequately provided for and that your estate is dealt with according to your wishes. There are 6 things that can go wrong if you don’t have a will!
My daughter has had relationship issues with her husband for a couple of years and they now live separately but still under the same roof. They have one daughter. My daughter is a saver and has paid off the mortgage on their house. Her husband is a spender who always runs up debt on his credit card, paying huge interest rates. My daughter is concerned that if anything happens to her, her husband will have her half share of the house as well as his own. She has no confidence that he will look out for their daughter.
Recently two children challenged their mother’s Will after she left a sizeable portion of her estate to her esoteric healing guru. They challenged on the grounds that their mother did not adequately provide for them in her Estate. The court ultimately denied their challenge.
When a couple enter into any Financial Agreement it is required by law that each party receives independent legal advice. We’ve put together a handy guide to help you prepare for your legal consultation.
A recent Canadian Court case highlights the importance of formalising a separation when property and children are involved. In this particular case, a man was able to prove that he still entitled to half of a property he purchased with his estranged wife over fifty years ago.
“I inherited some money from my father and a friend separately and some years apart. I subsequently bought a flat (apartment) for roughly to the same value as both inheritance monies combined. I am now divorced and about to go through the legal process to sort out the assets as both parties cannot agree on a settlement arrangement. Are those inheritance monies considered part of my asset pool from which my ex-wife has a claim?”
Recently, the daughter of mining billionaire, Michael John Maynard Wright, Olivia Mead (19) launched a successful challenge to her deceased father’s Will. Ms Mead claimed that as his dependent, she was not left with adequate provision from her late father’s estate. Under “family provision” legislation in each state, a person who is a “dependent”, may make a claim if adequate provision has not been made for their proper maintenance, support, education and advancement in life. The court has the discretion to make provision out of the estate, as it thinks fit.
Contemplating death is not a particularly happy subject but it is necessary if you want some control over how your loved ones will be cared for when you die or if you are incapacitated.
The electronic age is throwing some interesting questions to the Court and prompting it to keep pace with modern culture. There have been a number of cases in Australia that have considered whether electronic or other non-paper forms of Will, are valid and enforceable.