Meaning of stepchild when contesting a will

Inheritance in domestic relationships and stepchildren

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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Codicils: what is a codicil, making minor changes to a will

A codicil is a document used to make minor changes to an existing will

A codicil is an additional document added or appended to an existing will for the purpose of making a minor change, amendment or alteration to that will.  An example of a minor amendment is when someone wants to change their executor/s and/or trustee/s or appoint a new one.  Otherwise lawyers tend to prefer that a new will is made, so as to avoid potential difficulties down the track with interpretation and extra costs.  

Legal validity of a codicil

It is important to note that to be legally valid a codicil must be signed and witnessed in the same way as for a will.

Codicil to existing will or a new will?

As described already, codicil is a short document which may be used when only a minor change is required to a will.  If the will was made a long time ago, it may be best to make a new will altogether so there is no inconsistencies.  Seek professional advice.

This article looks at:

  • What is a codicil?
  • Making a legally valid codicil
  • Codicils must refer to the date on the correct will
  • Revoking part of a will by a codicil
  • Reviving an earlier will by a codicil
  • Meaning of ‘will’ includes a codicil
  • How must codicils be signed?
  • Storing a codicil
  • Potential problems
  • An undated, unsigned ‘homemade’ codicil 

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Update a will to avoid unintended outcomes

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By B Stead

Why update a will?

Updating a will might seem a troublesome chore, but circumstances can change from the time it was made.  The changes might produce unintended and unwanted outcomes in the event of death.  Therefore reviewing a will is important to keep its contents in line with intentions.

Regularly reviewing your will every few years or so, in light of changes in your life, is worth doing, as life events and matters such as those outlined below can affect a will.  Everyone’s situation is different so in all cases seek professional legal advice from a solicitor providing services in this area.

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