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. You can resign your appointment as executor by renouncing your right to probate of the deceased’s will, that is you renounce probate.
The 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 ?
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.
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.
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.
A codicil is a short additional document used to make a minor alteration to an existing will. Both the will and the codicil documents together become the “will” of the person expressing what they want done with their property when they die. Changing executors and trustees in the will is one example where a codicil is used. Main topics:
Non-English speaking people or people who don’t have English as a first language may need the services of an interpreter or translator to help them understand in their language aspects of the will-making process.
Pets are family but arrangements may not always be made for what to do with a beloved pet when their owner is no longer around. It is helpful to executors to consider leaving arrangements on what to do.
A will is a useful way make provision for the care and maintenance of companion animals. Various options are available, depending on individual circumstances.
To permit another person to look after your finances, money and property if you become mentally incapacitated may be done by authorising them with the power to do so under an enduring power of attorney document. This arrangement is lasting unless cancelled, before losing capacity. It is important to consider the effects of this document, what it can do and who you want to give the power to.
Who can make a will to dispose of their property? Who can make a will? To make a will a person must be an adult and have the required mental capacity. A will made by a minor, being under 18, is generally invalid under State and Territory wills and succession legislation. Exceptions relate to contemplation of marriage, or altering or cancelling a prior will. If the contemplated marriage does not take place, the will is invalid. The court may authorise a minor to make, alter or cancel a will.
Among the first considerations in making a will is considering what we own. Only property owned personally can form a deceased estate and be disposed of by will, but it is easy to overlook that property thought of as ‘ours’, is legally in another name. It pays to check who owns what, that which is not in your own name, is not yours to give by will.