Dying intestate can create a number of problems for your loved ones, which is why it’s always preferable to have a valid document in place.
Writing a Will is one of those tasks many people never quite get round to doing. Figures from the NSW Trustee & Guardian suggest as many as 45 per cent of Australians don’t have a valid Will in place, potentially meaning their loved ones won’t receive a fair share of assets after their death.
Failing to make a Will ultimately means your estate will be dealt with in line with the law. You lose all control over who receives what, so some of your friends and relatives may not be given any benefits from your estate whatsoever.
A third party will take control of the distribution of your assets and, once any outstanding debts have been paid, they will be given to your closest relatives. It doesn’t matter how much contact you had with them over the course of your lifetime, the law will ultimately determine who is entitled to what out of your estate.
What about de facto relationships?
It’s especially important to write a Will if you are in a de facto relationship. Although the law has changed so these couples will be entitled to inherit, there is always the prospect of a Will dispute arising.
The Family Law Act 1975 states that a de facto relationship can exist either as a homosexual or heterosexual pairing. The individuals are not married to each other and must be living together on a “genuine domestic basis”.
When disputing a Will, it is necessary to prove the relationship in order for your de facto partner to be entitled to any aspect of your estate. By taking control and writing a Will, you can ensure they will be fairly provided for, and that the case won’t ultimately be dealt with by the law.
Why do Will disputes arise?
There are various reasons why people decide to pursue an estate dispute. It might be because they have been left out of a Will entirely, or feel they haven’t been adequately provided for.
Having a valid Will is the easiest and most effective means of ensuring your assets are distributed in line with your specific wishes. It is also advisable to make sure the document is drawn up in a way that is legally sound, otherwise you also run the risk of it being disputed.
Dealing with the death of a loved one is a stressful enough time anyway, without the need to dispute a Will. Taking control now is the most preferable course of action. However, if you do need to contest a Will or are thinking about contesting a will, get in touch with the team at PK Simpson.
— PK Simpson InjuryLaw (@PK_SimpsonAU) July 14, 2017