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?
Opposing a grant of probate, or contesting it you need to be able to show that you have a legal interest in the deceased estate.
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.
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.
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 when the first owner dies, their interest in the property is automatically absorbed so that …
Updated 15 December 2020 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 The case provides yet another example of the high level of …
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.
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.
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.
Many couples wish to leave their estates to each other when they die, and then to their children. They usually nominate the same people to act as their executors and trustees, typically each other, and one or more of their children may be appointed as substitutes. Putting these intentions into writing in their individual 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 …
There is no requirement that an executor must accept the executorship role, even if it was agreed to do so. But relinquishing executorship should be done as soon as practical if you don’t wish to act and have not dealt with the estate, (intermeddle). You can resign your appointment as executor by renouncing your right to probate of the deceased’s will, that is you renounce probate.
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.
Keeping an original will safe and secure is one thing, (for more on storing a will click here), but as a practical matter, it is also important to let executors know, or family or a trusted friend, of its whereabouts.
But what if for some reason an original will cannot be located? What can be done? Does it mean the intestacy rules have to apply?
A codicil is a short additional document, typically one or two pages, used to make a minor alteration to an existing will. Both the will and the codicil documents together form the “will” of the person. To be legally valid the codicil document must be signed and executed in front of witnesses in the same way as for a will.
A codicil is a convenient way to change an executor or trustee named in a will. For example in a situation where someone appointed as an executor has died a codicil can be used to replace them with someone else who is willing to act when the time comes. Read more here.
To see the contents of a deceased person’s will can be difficult. 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.