When no will is left by a deceased person they are said to have died intestate. Dying intestate means no will is left setting out what is to be done with the deceased’s property. Who is entitled to take their estate?
Wills and estates
General information and insights on the law on wills, will-making, deceased estates in Australia.
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 >>
Increasingly, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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? Read more >>
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.
Signing a document is not the same thing as having to execute it. We might talk about signing a will but technically, a will is required by law to be executed. So what does execution mean and what has to be done to execute a will for it to be legally valid?
If, despite all efforts to find a solution, including mediation, you are thinking of making a claim for family provision under a will, don’t assume that your costs will be paid out of the estate; at least in New South Wales.
Not everyone lives and works in the community in which they grew up, surrounded by family and friends.
Many leave to pursue opportunities elsewhere, maybe never to return. Family ties may weaken in time, and contact is lost. What if you want to leave them something in your will?
The old Darwin Courthouse was constructed in 1884 of stone and other material from local sources. Following Cyclone Tracy it underwent extensive restoration and now used for administration.
Adult 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.
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?
Illegitimate 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?
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.