Don't set your family up for a fight over your will

Date: Sep 21, 2016
Document Type: Article

They say two things are certain in life: death and taxes. These used to come at once as death duties - a tax on the dead. That archaic concept was abolished in New South Wales in 1981, but complications after a person passes away persist.

A will is the best way to establish that after you die, your assets will be distributed the way you want. Dying intestate (without a will) means the court decides how your estate and assets are to be distributed, according to a strict legal formula. As a consequence, part of your estate may be wasted on unnecessary legal fees. So you should always make a will if you have a family or if other people are financially dependent on you.

Writing your own will sounds sensible and a good way to save money, but there are pitfalls. In fact, by writing your own will, you may be leaving your loved ones to dispute a will as your legacy. In complicated family structures, or where partners have re-married, Family Provisions Act considerations must be addressed.

If your will isn’t clear and well thought-out, you could be leaving an executor, or more importantly, your family, with estate disputes and arguments in which your loved ones and dependents (and former dependents) have conflicting claims that result in litigation that can become acrimonious and destructive of family relationships. 

Whilst it is not always possible to eliminate these risks, a well-thought-out will can significantly reduce the dangers.

Who Can Make A Will?

  • A will can be made by anyone over 18 as long as they have mental capacity
  • Persons with an intellectual disability or in the early stages of dementia cannot make a will
  • If a person's mental capacity is in doubt, an assessment of their understanding needs to be made by a qualified person

Craddock Murray Neumann Lawyers is a law firm that provides wills and estate law services and can also assist with family law, property law, commercial law and immigration law in New South Wales. Our wills and estates practitioners can give advice on:

  • probate litigation
  • contested Wills
  • lodging caveats
  • Powers of Attorney
  • appointment of Enduring Guardian
  • testamentary trusts
  • preparing Wills
  • handling the estates of people who die without a Will - intestate estates
  • estate planning
  • applying for a Grant of Probate
  • applying for Letters of Administration

We also have an association with licensed financial planners who can advise on estate planning, life insurance, income protection insurance, and trauma insurance. We can assist you with everything from drafting simple wills  through to complex wills using testamentary trusts, and from appointing Powers of Attorney (people who can look after your financial affairs on your behalf) through to appointments of Enduring Guardian (looking after your medical care).

Contact Craddock Murray Neumann Lawyers on (02) 8268 4000 for friendly professional service.

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Caveats in Probate Proceedings
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Choosing your executor
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Coercion in making a will
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Family Provision Overview
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Fixing errors in Wills
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The Curse of the Homemade Will
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The Problem With Internet Wills
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Date: Jun 16, 2014
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What is a “Benjamin Order”?
Date: Oct 04, 2013
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Date: Sep 07, 2011
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