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WillsHub is an Australian law site on Australia succession law aiming to draw together legal information on wills, deceased estates, intestacy, family provision and estate administration – collectively known as succession or inheritance law.  Published by BHS Legal, an Australian incorporated legal practice, WillsHub is written by principal lawyer Bronwyn Stead, admitted to practise in the Supreme Court of New South Wales and in the High Court of Australia, member of the NSW Law Society and The Tax Institute, previously a medical research scientist.

Recent Posts

Home made will – a good idea?

What is a home made will? Generally this means a will you’ve prepared yourself, whether or not you use a “will kit”.  In other words, the will has been prepared without the services of a lawyer and the benefit of individual legal advice. 

This may seem an economical and convenient approach to will-making – which doesn’t require fees to a lawyer!  But if the intentions are unclear the potential is high for it to be a false economy.  Problems only come to light after the willmaker has gone and their estate must be finalised.  Personal representatives  responsible for administering the estate then have a difficult task.

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  1. “Gift over” in a will to a substitute beneficiary Comments Off on “Gift over” in a will to a substitute beneficiary
  2. gift over, substitute beneficiary, wills, deceased estate, will making, beneficiary dies,

    A gift over in a will is when the person designated to receive it has died, the gift then passes over to a substitute person, if so named to take. Continue reading

  3. “My issue” – considering the meaning of “issue” in wills Comments Off on “My issue” – considering the meaning of “issue” in wills
  4. issue, remote issue, remoter issue, children, descendants, offspring, grandchildren, inheritance, succession law, family, wills, estates, deceasedWhat is the legal meaning of issue, remoter issue and similar terms in wills? Does it mean children? Are all descendants entitled to inherit in the same way? Find our more about this flexible term “issue” here. Continue reading

  5. Who can oppose a grant of probate? Comments Off on Who can oppose a grant of probate?
  6. To oppose a grant of probate, or contest a will, you need to be able to show that you have a legal interest in that deceased estate. Continue reading

  7. Early inheritance issues and family provision Comments Off on Early inheritance issues and family provision
  8. sandstone carving, Parkes Courthouse, New South Wales, An early inheritance of a mortgage-free home was given to the younger daughter at the time of her marriage. It was well understood by all family members at the time that the other older daughter would receive her inheritance when the last parent died. However things didn’t go to plan.

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  9. Missing or lost original will – can a copy be used? Comments Off on Missing or lost original will – can a copy be used?
  10. copy of a will, lost will, missing will, will not found, probate application, coat of arms Parkes Courthouse, early Australian courthouses, old Australian courthouses, Colonial Australian courthouses

    Probate applications require production of the original will. But what if the original can’t be found? In certain circumstances a Court will recognise a lost will and admit a copy of it to probate.

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  11. Testamentary freedom in Australian law and family provision claims Comments Off on Testamentary freedom in Australian law and family provision claims
  12. Being free to dispose of your property how and to whom you wish, that is the freedom of testamentary disposition is, as a Supreme Court judge said a “prominent feature of the Australian legal system.   Its significance is both practical … Continue reading

  13. Contemplating marriage and making a will Comments Off on Contemplating marriage and making a will
  14. Normally under Australian succession law marriage cancels a will (that is revokes the will) – unless the will was made in contemplation of marriage. In some states and the ACT testamentary arrangements can be made in contemplation of entering into a registered relationship or partnership.

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  15. Contesting a will – time limits on making an application Comments Off on Contesting a will – time limits on making an application
  16. time limits, family provision, family provision law, farm, Western Australia, contest a will, Time limits apply under family provision law within which to contest or challenge a will. If this time has passed it is possible to apply to the Court for an extension, but whether it is granted will depend on the circumstances. In this case the application was unsuccessful, being some years out of time.

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  17. “Contrary intention” in succession law and will-making Comments Off on “Contrary intention” in succession law and will-making
  18. Image: Coat of Arms, Broken Hill Courthouse, NSW, by B Stead.

    Broken Hill Courthouse - Coat of Arms, early Australian courthouses, Australian legal history, Australian Colonial courthouses,Many provisions in state and territory legislation on succession and wills allow for a willmaker to express a contrary intention in their will to override the statutory rule. Where a provision of succession legislation contains these words, it means that the statutory rule can be displaced, that is not apply in the administration of their estate, if a willmaker has expressed a different intention on the matter in their will as to what they want to have happen.

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  19. Meaning of words in a will – resolving differences in a farmland context Comments Off on Meaning of words in a will – resolving differences in a farmland context
  20. meaning of will, farm succession, farm inheritance, meaning of plant and equipment The meaning of words and phrases used by a will-maker when leaving a specific gift may adequately express their intentions, at least to them at the time. However sometimes matters connected with the gift may arise down the track during administration of the estate, raising questions of interpretation.

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  21. Leaving an unsigned will – second thoughts or intended last words? Comments Off on Leaving an unsigned will – second thoughts or intended last words?
  22. Sometimes an unsigned will is left in situations where the willmaker, in consultation with lawyers, has been in the process of making a new will, but died before the requirements to make a valid legal document were completed. Leaving such … Continue reading

  23. Meaning of stepchild when contesting a will Comments Off on Meaning of stepchild when contesting a will
  24. stepchild, family provision, testator's family maintenance,

    A stepchild’s eligibility under the statutory rules for seeking provision from a step-parent’s deceased estate can be difficult.

    In a Victorian case1 the executor of a deceased estate applied to the Supreme Court to have a claim for family provision dismissed.

    The claim was brought by the adult daughter of the deceased’s former domestic partner, who had died some years before. She had been left out of his will, despite assurances and promises to the contrary. The deceased had left everything to his new domestic partner.

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  25. Stepchild contesting a step-parent’s will – Queensland Comments Off on Stepchild contesting a step-parent’s will – Queensland
  26. stepchild, willshub, step-parent, family provision, In a Queensland case a stepchild was left out of the will of a step-parent. He subsequently sought provision from his step-mother’s estate. She had no natural children of her own. Her husband, the applicant’s father, had pre-deceased her. The applicant was her only step-child. In another situation a claim was brought by seven step-children for adequate provision out of their deceased stepmother’s estate.

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  27. Elder Abuse World Awareness Day – June 15 Comments Off on Elder Abuse World Awareness Day – June 15
  28.  
    elder abuse, elder abuse awareness day, Elder abuse can take different forms. It can range across financial, psychological, physical and emotional neglect causing harm and distress to the older person. It may be intentional or not. Critical issues having potential to generate abuse of older ones involve legal capacity, and undue influence in entering into guarantees for family members and others, and reverse mortgages. Carers misusing their influence is another area. Financial abuse can surface in various ways, one in particular is placing pressure on an older person to make or change their will.

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  29. Severing a joint tenancy unilaterally Comments Off on Severing a joint tenancy unilaterally
  30. Many couples own their home together as joint tenants under a joint tenancy.  Under a joint tenancy an important legal consequence to remember with this type of property co-ownership is the legal right of survivorship. The right of survivorship means that … Continue reading

  31. Estranged child left out of a will – claiming family provision Comments Off on Estranged child left out of a will – claiming family provision
  32. An estranged daughter, one of two sisters and the only children of their deceased mother, were engaged in legal proceedings in a contest over their mother’s deceased estate.1 In The Supreme Court of New South Wales, it was said that … Continue reading

  33. Lost or missing will – where to enquire? Comments Off on Lost or missing will – where to enquire?
  34. lost original will, missing wills, Missing wills or a lost will seem to be more common than one would think. Some people store important personal documents in unusual places without informing their executor where. Here are some suggestions on next steps after a thorough search has not been successful.

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  35. Step-grandchildren described as “descendants” and “children”- can they inherit? Comments Off on Step-grandchildren described as “descendants” and “children”- can they inherit?
  36. Step-grandchildren, will-making, descendants, childrenIf the words “descendants” and “children” are being used to describe beneficiaries in a will, is it intended by that any step-grandchildren are included? Continue reading

  37. Personal items or chattels in a deceased estate Comments Off on Personal items or chattels in a deceased estate
  38. personal-effectsPersonal things can have great sentimental value, and depending what they are, maybe commercial value. Continue reading

  39. Probate litigation costs Comments Off on Probate litigation costs
  40. Court costs, probate litigationIncreasingly, it is not always automatic that costs of challenging a will for more provision will be paid out of the deceased’s estate. Courts may take into account the conduct of the litigants towards each other in regard to their efforts in resolving their differences before hearing. Continue reading

  41. Personal possessions – interpreting their meaning and entitlements Comments Off on Personal possessions – interpreting their meaning and entitlements
  42. personal possessions, deceased estate, will making, Leaving gifts of personal possessions seems easy to do – until someone else has to interpret what was meant in the words used in the will. Continue reading

  43. Murrumburrah Courthouse (former) 1880, NSW Comments Off on Murrumburrah Courthouse (former) 1880, NSW
  44. Murrumburrah Courthouse (former), 1880, corner of Vernon and Albury Streets, Murrumburrah, NSW. Continue reading