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Children

About children in Australian succession law and  providing for them in your will.  Who might be included as a ‘child’ in your will?

There are different categories – step-children, adopted children, illegitimate children.  Depending on your circumstances none of these may apply but for others they will be relevant.  Then there are children with health conditions, disabilities to ensure they are provided for.  

If you make reference to your children in your will – do you mean your children or do you want to include your grandchildren as well? 

 

 

Home made will – a good idea?

A home made will is one prepared by the willmaker themselves, perhaps using a “will kit” and without without the services of a lawyer and the benefit of individual legal advice. This may seem an economical and convenient approach to will-making.  While a lawyer’s costs are avoided at this step, there is the  potential is …

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“Gift over” in a will to a substitute beneficiary

gift over, substitute beneficiary, making a will, gifts in a will, wills, deceased estate, will making, beneficiary dies,
An outline of a how a gift over works in a will. 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.The substitute beneficiary only inherits if the main beneficiary has already died, not survived the deceased or died before attaining a vested interest.

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Early inheritance issues and family provision

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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Testamentary freedom and family provision in Australia

testamentary freedom in Australia, freedom of testation, family law,

Testamentary freedom is being free to dispose of your property how and to whom you wish. One Supreme Court judge said that this freedom of testamentary disposition is a “prominent feature of the Australian legal system. Its significance is both practical and symbolic and should not be underestimated.”1

Of course like all freedoms it should be used reasonably.

Time limits apply to contesting a will

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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“Contrary intention” in succession law and will-making

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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Meaning of stepchild when contesting a will

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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Stepchild contesting a step-parent’s will – Queensland

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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“Issue children” – some issues with words

 

 

issue, meaning of issue, legal meaning of issue, issue and children, children, wills, will,

The word “issue” is a legal term meaning all of a person’s descendants; not just their children. It is easy to overlook this and the potential unwanted consequences for what is intended, if not used correctly when working out wording in a will.

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Signing a will, having it witnessed & witnesses

WitnessThe legal formalities to make a valid will require the will-maker to sign their will in the presence of at least two people, acting as formal witnesses to the event.
Signing a will in front of witnesses fulfils a protective function. Can anyone witness or attest the signing of a will? And what must they do?  Read more >>

Illegitimate children, ex-nuptial children – can they inherit?

illegitimate children, ex-nuptial children, contest a will, challenge a will, inheritance, inheritIllegitimate children are those born outside of marriage, or out of wedlock, in older terminology.  These days the word “illegitimate” has largely been replaced in law by the term “ex-nuptial” – nuptial referring to marriage.  Either way, can an ex-nuptial child inherit from their natural parents?  Or contest a natural parent’s will for provision out of their estate? What if no will was left?  

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Family provision – who is eligible to claim from a deceased estate?

family provision, eligibile person, will, deceased estate, challenge a will, contest a will, In succession law the court has discretionary power under family provision legislation to order provision from a deceased person’s estate to “eligible” applicants and in certain circumstances. It is not automatic.

The legal rules were introduced to remedy situations where willmakers failed to leave adequate provision for close family and certain other dependents as defined. It is not for second bites at the cherry. The court has wide power in deciding who pays costs of proceedings.

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Residue of a deceased estate – what is it?

residue, deceased estate, wills, making a will, administration, probate 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.

Gortyn laws – ancient inheritance laws etched in stone

Gortyn, Crete, Greece, Gortyn Law inscriptions, stone

Inheritance and intergenerational transfer of property has concerned families and civilisations for centuries.  Inheritance laws of the ancient city of Gortyn (Gortys), Crete were inscribed on stone in a public place in the fifth century.  The Law Code of Gortyn is a written set of rules prescribing who inherits, among other private matters, so as to keep property in the male side of family.

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