Everything You Should Know About Wills

There is a time limit which applies to those who intend to make a claim against a deceased estate. As at the date of this article (November 2017), it is 12 months from the date of the deceased’s death.

You should seek legal advice from a probate lawyer who is experienced in this area of law.

Wills

A will states how assets are to be distributed when the will maker passes away.

It is highly recommended that you see a probate lawyer to draft your will. It is very dangerous in our opinion for a person to try and prepare their own will. We have see it time and time again when a person has purchased a will kit form their local post office and has prepared it without legal advice and the will has been struck out as invalid because the gifts have failed (for example the appointed beneficiary has passed away) or the wording was ambiguous and difficult to interpret the will-maker’s intention or the will was not signed properly etc. in our experience as probate lawyers dealing with such matters, ambiguity is the most common error in homemade wills.

There is too much scope for error and for the sake of a few hundred dollars it is not worth the risk. Especially in circumstances where the will maker has a large asset portfolio.

There are legal requirements to satisfy in order for a will to be valid and it is important to seek legal advice and arrange a lawyer to prepare this document. A probate lawyer who knows about the legal requirements and ensures the will is drafted in accordingly and to avoid issues when the time comes.

For example, the will must be signed before two witnesses. The intentions of the will maker must not be ambiguous. These are just a few examples.

We recommend that you speak with a probate lawyer who can prepare a will for you.

When to Update my Will?

A will must be updated in particular circumstances.

See below examples of situations in which a will must be updated:

  1. Marriage, divorce and separation
  2. At the beginning of a new relationship
  3. Once you have had children or grandchildren (and your will does not already have provision dealing with these circumstances)
  4. A beneficiary mentioned in your will has passed away (and your will does not already have provision dealing with these circumstances)
  5. The appointed executor has passed away or has lost mental capacity or is unwell or perhaps unwilling to act as executor (and your will does not already have provision dealing with these circumstances)
  6. If you have purchased or sold assets (and your will does not already have provision dealing with these circumstances)

If your circumstances have not changed then there may be no need to update your will however we recommend you seek legal advice and arrange a consultation with a probate lawyer. You should seek legal advice from a probate lawyer who is experienced in this area of law.

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