Wills & Estate - What You Need To Know

Posted by Ross Selvaggio on 28 February 2017

As we grow older the need for a Will becomes more and more important. Knowing what is going to happen to your estate if you pass away always brings peace of mind that your wishes will be heard. While a Will may seem like a very straight forward document to put together and something that you can do yourself, it can actually be very confusing and the advice of a legal professional is needed.

With a valid Will a mentally capable adult may leave his or her Estate to whomever they wish. However, there is an important exception to this rule that you need to be aware of. If you have made a Will and have not provided for a family member or close friend, then the person who has been left out of the Will can make Application to the Court to make a claim for a share of the deceased person's estate.

Speaking to a legal professional before you outline your wishes is a great way to ensure you know all of the ins and outs of the law. This way you can ensure you have included everyone and everything that should be included in your Will before it is made into a legal document.

It is important to know that there is a category of people who are automatically deemed to be able to make an Application to the Court to be included in a share of your estate. This includes any spouses and children.

In most cases, grandchildren are not eligible to make a claim for a share of their grandparents estate, however, in a recent case the Supreme Court did in fact grant a Family Provision claim to a grandchild who had lived with his grandmother for the last 10 years of her life, providing her with care and companionship.

The Court decided that the duration of the living arrangement placed the grandson in a position of a “surrogate son” and gave the situation a flavour of a parental relationship. These circumstances permitted the Court to allow the grandson to make Application. This also allowed the Court to grant the claim by giving the grandson a share of his grandmother's estate.

It is also important to be aware that even if the person making the Application is an eligible person, it will still be up to the Court to decide whether that claim will be successful and whether the Applicant will be given a share of the estate.

Selvaggio Lawyers are available to discuss your situation and help you draft a legal Will. Our expert team will explain everything you need to know to make an informed decision regarding your estate and final wishes.

Contact us on (02) 9899 9677 and we’ll arrange a confidential consultation regarding your Will and Estate.