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Wills and estates

General information and insights on the law on wills, will-making, deceased estates in Australia.

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Probate litigation costs

Court costs, probate litigationIncreasingly, it is not always automatic that costs of challenging a will for more provision will be paid out of the deceased’s estate. Courts may take into account the conduct of the litigants towards each other in regard to their efforts in resolving their differences before hearing.

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Personal possessions – interpreting their meaning and entitlements

personal items, chattels, personal chattels, deceased estate, personal possessions, will making,

personal items, belongings or effects and similar expressions are often used by willmakers to leave instructions on what they want done with such things after they die.  Those responsible with this are the people the willmaker has personally appointed and named in their will to represent them, their personal representatives or legal personal representatives. 

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Signing the wrong will by mistake

mistakenly wrong will, signing a will, mirror wills, reciprocal wills, mistake, error, will-making Finding a mistake or error in the will of the deceased can cause extra difficulties in sorting it out.  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.

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Rectify a mistake discovered in the will after death

Entry pillars, palm tree lined pathway to the Rockhampton Courthouse, Queensland

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.

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Nieces and nephews – leaving them an inheritance by your will

 

Nieces and nephews in wills, nieces and nephews, whole blood, half blood, ancestors, common ancestor 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.

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Probate and a grant of probate – what is probate?

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.

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Adult children claiming provision from their parent’s estate – considerations

 

family provision, adult children, estrangement, equality, estate claimAdult children who feel they have not been provided or left out of their parent’s will altogether, may wish to make a claim for provision out of their deceased parent’s estate. Children of a deceased parent are eligible under family provision or testator’s family maintenance legislation to apply to the Court for an order for provision out of their deceased parent’s estate.

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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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