What 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.
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.
Image: Coat of Arms, Broken Hill Courthouse, NSW, by B Stead.
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.
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.
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.
Sometimes it is not until after a will-maker dies, when their executor is applying for a grant of probate, or seeking to administer the estate, that some kind of administrative mistake is discovered in the will. For example words used in the will, or some mis-description, operate to prevent the will-maker’s intentions from being put …
Who our ‘nieces and nephews’ are, if we have them, may seem so obvious as to not need mentioning, after all it is all in the family and identifying them should not be a problem. Leaving a gift to be divided among “nieces and nephews” by will then, should be a simple matter. Not always, as circumstances and relationships may change from the time a will is made to the date of death.
Probate is the official process to establish or prove, whether a deceased person’s will or testamentary document is valid and intended to be their last will.
A grant of probate is the document issued by the Court of Probate after completion of an examination process. A type of grant of representation, it is an order of the Court certifying that the executor (or personal representative) named in the document is lawfully authorised to administer the estate of the deceased person. It is also official recognition that the will (which may include codicils) was proved to be valid by the Court and intended to be their last will. This article is about probate, which only applies when a will was left.
If, despite all efforts to find a solution, including mediation, you are thinking of making a claim for family provision under a will, don’t assume that your costs will be paid out of the estate; at least in New South Wales.
Not everyone lives and works in the community in which they grew up, surrounded by family and friends.
Many leave to pursue opportunities elsewhere, maybe never to return. Family ties may weaken in time, and contact is lost. What if you want to leave them something in your will?
The residue of a deceased person’s estate is basically what is left over after the payment all costs in connection with the estate. That is, payment of funeral expenses, costs incurred in the administration of the estate, payment of the deceased’s debts, discharge of any liabilities and the distribution of any specific gifts made under the will.
To see the contents of a deceased person’s will can be difficult if you are not the executor. But in some states if you know who has the will, a copy, or other testamentary document, the law requires them to allow people who are entitled to have access, to inspect or see the will; and have a copy of it. Copying is at their own expense, but costs must be reasonable.
A family tree outlining close family/next of kin relationships is useful in preparing to make a will, and as a reference in situations of intestacy.
Per stirpes and per capita refer to the ways in which a person’s estate can be distributed among their descendants (issue). The point is to take into account any family who may have predeceased them.
Understanding how per stirpes and per capita work is important both in making a will and for legal representatives interpreting one.
Language can be confusing. The way that certain words are used in a will may cause difficulties in interpreting what the willmaker actually meant, but unfortunately may not come to light until they have passed away. Two such words are “children” and “issue”.