A home made will is one prepared by the willmaker themselves. Maybe using a “will kit” or something found online or a digital recording. However made a home-made will is composed 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 …
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.
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.
The meaning of words and phrases used by a will-maker when leaving a specific gift may adequately express their intentions, at least to them at the time. However sometimes matters connected with the gift may arise down the track during administration of the estate, raising questions of interpretation.
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.
Estranged daughter An estranged daughter contested her mother’s will. She and her sister were the only children of the deceased.1 Contesting the will of a parent is highly emotional, stressful and damaging to family relations. As observed by the Supreme Court of New South Wales: The case provides yet another example of the high level …
Personal things can have great sentimental value and depending what they are possibly significant commercial value. It is helpful to leave instructions as to what they are and who you would like to have them. Read more on personal items and succession law >>
Sometimes a clerical error or some other aspect about a deceased’s will means that practically speaking what the deceased intended doesn’t work out. Fortunately all is not lost. Succession legislation provisions give the Court a power to rectify the will to give effect to the deceased’s intentions if the Court is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the will does not. An application to the Court for a rectification order must be made within twelve months in NSW. An extension of time may be possible in special circumstances and if the estate has not been distributed. For an application to succeed there must be clear and convincing proof.
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.
Intestate means dying without a will. But sometimes even if a person has left a will there may be a partial intestacy. This is when the will does not effectively dispose of all of their property. If that happens the identified property falls into the residue of the estate and distributed according to what the person’s will states about disposal of the residue, and if silent, then according to the statutory intestacy rules. Read more on dying intestate. >>
If a deceased person has not left a will or if no document appearing to be a will can be found, they are said to have died intestate.