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. This would be the parent’s home. Evidence was put of their parents’ expressed wishes to treat their two children fairly and to give each of them a property. They made wills to give effect to this. What could go wrong?

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Renouncing executorship and probate – when an executor does not wish to act

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Renouncing probate is what you can do if you are named as executor in a deceased person’s will, and do not want to take on the role.  You are not obliged to, but you need to take steps to put that into effect as soon as practical.

If you are looking for executor services you can either find a lawyer or law firm to do this by contacting the law society in your state/territory for referrals: links here, or the public trustee, links here  Some non-government corporate providers including banks also offer executor services.    

Can an executor resign?
There is no requirement that a named executor in a will  must accept the role of executorship, even if you had agreed with the willmaker that you would.

So in other words, can you resign as executor of an estate? Yes, providing you have not intermeddled in the estate already, see further below on what intermeddling means.

If you don’t wish to act when the time comes, and you have not dealt with estate property, you can give up the right to do so.  It means you give up your appointment as an executor, commonly called renouncing probate. In renouncing probate you are renouncing the executorship, in other words resigning.  It means you renounce or give up your right to apply for probate of the deceased’s will; sometimes expressed as to ‘renounce probate’.

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

What is a codicil to a will?

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.

The word ‘codicil’ comes from Latin, meaning a letter or note. Together with the will document, being testamentary documents they only operate when you die.  A codicil is not used for making changes to other documents such as a trust deed for example.  To do that, you need to follow the procedures set out in the trust deed, and seek legal advice.

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
  • 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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Storing a will – ensure it is safe and secure

Storing a will for safekeepingstoring a will, will storage, safe custody for a will, willmaking, deceased estate,
Wills are important private and confidential documents which take legal effect on the death of its maker.  An original will should be stored in a safe and secure place after being signed and witnessed.  Ideally the place should be fireproof, and protected from tampering or destruction. 

Willmakers should consider their personal circumstances, family and other relationships when considering storage options. In some situations storing a will at home is not advisable if it is likely persons adverse to what it contains can access it. 

And make sure you inform your nominated executors or legal personal representatives of your original documents. 

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Glen Innes Courthouse 1873, NSW

Please note: if you have landed here looking to contact the Court please see the Glen Innes Court House contact details here.

Glen Innes CourthouseGlen Innes Courthouse 1873, Grey Street, Glen Innes NSW

The Glen Innes Courthouse is still operational as a local court in New South Wales.

The present building bears the date 1873.  As with many other early colonial buildings it was designed by the architect James Barnet and constructed using local basalt stone and granite.

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Who can see the will of a deceased person & can you obtain a copy?

To see the will, view it or obtain access to the will of a deceased person

see the will, wills, probate, deceased estate, copy of someone's will, WillsHubTo see the will of a deceased person and getting a copy can be difficult when you are not the executor or administrator.  However in some states changes to the legislation on wills and succession has made this easier by making it clear the category of persons who are entitled to see or inspect the will of a deceased person. 

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Bangalow Courthouse NSW

By B Stead

Bangalow Courthouse (former) and Police Station

A timber weatherboard construction for the Bangalow Courthouse and Police Station in the Federation era style.

 Bangalow Courthouse, Byron Street, Bangalow, NSW

Built in 1909 the Bangalow Courthouse was constructed alongside the Police lock-up,  which had been erected in 1905.

At the time Bangalow was described as a ‘budding township’, servicing a developing dairying industry, see location map below.  As with any growing community, it needed a police presence with adequate facilities. A number of the original Federation era shop facades lining the main street have been preserved rendering the townscape with special charm.

Before the Bangalow police station and lock-up was built Bangalow police were required to transport people in custody to the Byron Bay Police Station. The Northern Star, November 1904.

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When disposing property by will check the ownership – what can and can’t be disposed of by will

Disposing property – what can be disposed of by a will and what can’t – property ownership and control issues

disposing property by will, what property can be disposed of by will, Property ownership, will making, company shares, units, trust,

Only personally owned property may be dealt with by a will.

Disposing property by will, in the will-making process requires considerations to be given to what you own in your individual name, as opposed to what you might control, see further below.  As only property owned in a personal or individual name can form a deceased estate, it is only this which can be transferred by will, (or the rules of intestacy).

Other property may be owned in the name of a company or trust.  In these entities an individual may have control through shareholdings or a power of appointment.  When it comes to making a will, it is important to remember that such assets won’t form part of a person’s deceased estate and therefore cannot be disposed by their will.  See the table below for examples of what are estate (disposable by will) and non-estate assets. Making a list of property, money and things to be disposed of and who owns what is important. More

Gundagai Courthouse, c1861, Gundagai, New South Wales

By B Stead

Please note, if you landed here looking for the contact and location details of the Gundagai Local Court, please go to their website here.

Gundagai Courthouse, early Australian courthouses, old Australian courthouses

Gundagai Courthouse, first courthouse constructed in 1859, NSW

Gundagai Courthouse, Gundagai, New South Wales

Gundagai is a country town on the Murrumbidgee River in New South Wales, see location map below.  The area is widely known for its Dog on the Tuckerbox Statue, just outside of town off the Hume Highway.

Gundagai has had courthouse facilities of one kind or another for over a hundred years. See a detailed history including architectural drawings of the Gundagai Courthouse in the Gundagai Gaol & Courthouse Conservation Management Plan1 ical account The Gundagai Courthouse

Early repairs and developing the grounds

In 1870 repairs to the North Gundagai Courthouse and improvements to its approach had stalled.  Reporting on the matter it seemed that the first choice of contractor was the cause of the delay in repairing “our local temple of justice”.  In addition the contractor allegedly had failed to keep costs ‘to an economical scale.’

Improving a ‘mean’ entrance

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