Inheritance in domestic relationships and stepchildren
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.
A codicil is an additional document used to make minor changes, amendments or alterations to an existing will. The codicil document must be signed in front of witnesses in the same way as for a will, see below. Once completed the codicil is kept with that will. More than one codicil may be made.
Examples of a minor change are when you want to change your executor/s or trustee/s, appoint a new one, add a specific gift (legacy) to a particular person or delete it. Lawyers tend to prefer that a new will is made so as to avoid potential difficulties down the track with interpretation, and the extra costs that arise in resolving them.
Codicil to an existing will or make a new will?
As described above a codicil is a short document which may be used to make a minor change to an existing 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
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.