Wills & Estates

At Craddock Murray Neumann we have experienced solicitors who 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).

Our Wills & Estates team is experienced in the preparation and completion of wills and has comprehensive resources to enable us to produce documents specifically tailored to your needs.
 
In addition we have an association with licensed financial planners who can advise on estate planning, life insurance, income protection insurance, and trauma insurance.
 
Our Wills & Estates services include:
  • 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
  • Family Provisions Act claims - acting for people left out of a will or people defending a will
  • probate litigation
  • contested wills
  • lodging caveats
  • Powers of Attorney
  • appointment of Enduring Guardian
  • testamentary trusts.
Further information
 
Contact Craddock Murray Neumann Lawyers on (02) 8268 4000 for friendly professional service.
Don't set your family up for a fight over your will
Date: Sep 21, 2016

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.

What happens when an executor cannot find a will?
Date: May 24, 2016

To deal with the deceased estate, the executor will need to firstly obtain a grant of probate on the basis of the original Will. What happens if the original Will cannot be found?

Factors the Court Considers when Making an Order for Provision from a Deceased's Estate
Date: Nov 17, 2014

The Case Law states that the Court must not disregard the interests of other beneficiaries in determining a Plaintiff’s Application for provision from a deceased’s estate even in circumstances when those other beneficiaries have been given notice of the Plaintiff’s proceedings but have chosen not to make an Application themselves or participate in the proceedings.

The Curse of the Homemade Will
Date: Sep 18, 2014

A recent Judgment in a case involving interpretation of a homemade will commenced with the words “Homemade wills are a curse”.

Overview of Family Provision Cases Where Eligible Person is a Dependant or Grandchild of the Deceased
Date: Sep 08, 2014

Being an eligible person is a necessary precondition to the Court making an order for provision out of the estate of a deceased person for the maintenance, education or advancement in life of the eligible person.

What are the required certainties when creating a trust instrument?
Date: Sep 01, 2014

A person who creates an express trust is the trustee (the settlor), but if the trust is a transfer of property, then whoever the property is to be transferred to on trust, will assume the role of trustee.

Costs orders - who pays the costs of legal proceedings?
Date: Aug 25, 2014

The Court has power under Section 98 of the Civil Procedure Act 2005 to determine by whom, to whom and to what extent the costs of the proceedings are to be paid.

Will maker can make no provision made for adult children
Date: Aug 20, 2014

It is clear from decided court cases that the Court accepts that willmakers are in certain circumstances entitled to make no provision for children, particularly in the case of children who treat their parent , the willmaker, callously, by withholding without proper justification their support and love for them in their declining years. Even more so when that callousness is compounded by hostility.

Caveats, interests in property and contracts – does my contract give me a caveatable interest?
Date: Aug 18, 2014

Section 74F of the Real Property Act 1900 (NSW) permits a person who claims to be entitled to a “legal or equitable estate or interest in land” to lodge with the Registrar-General a caveat, prohibiting the recording of any dealing affecting the estate or interest to which the person claims to be entitled.

Does Dependency Alone Entitle You To Make a Claim for Provision on the Estate of a Deceased Person
Date: Jul 29, 2014

Section 57 (1)(e) & (f) of the Succession Act provides that the following persons are “eligible persons”.

Caveats in Probate Proceedings
Date: Jul 24, 2014

The function of a caveat in probate proceedings is to obtain a stay of proceedings seeking probate, administration or resealing except upon notice to the caveator, i.e. the person who lodges the caveat.

Executors and Administrators living outside Australia
Date: Jun 23, 2014

Generally, the Supreme Court of New South Wales will not grant probate or letters of administration to an applicant living outside of Australia.

Capacity to make a will
Date: Jun 20, 2014

In order to make a will a person must have sufficient mental capacity. If a person does not have the required mental capacity their will may be found to be invalid.

The Problem With Internet Wills
Date: Jun 18, 2014

The Law Society Council has issued a statement on wills practice to address concerns with developments in internet will drafting and the potential for problems of identification, verification and assurance that a willmaker is giving direct instructions free of influence or coercion by relatives, carers, or other third parties.

Changes to Forms: Powers of Attorneys
Date: Jun 16, 2014

The power of attorney is an important and powerful legal tool. It allows you to appoint a trusted person to act on your behalf in relation to your legal and financial affairs when you are temporarily or permanently incapacitated. Some recent changes to the forms used to appoint a power of attorney clarify certain aspects of the process of appointment.

What are Powers of Attorney?
Date: Jun 16, 2014

A power of attorney is a legal document where you, as the ‘principal’, appoint another person your attorney to control and make decisions on your behalf regarding your legal and financial activities which could include dealing with your money, bank accounts, real estate, shares or other assets. If you want your attorney to deal with real estate, the power of attorney must be registered with the Land and Property Information Office.

All about trustees: The eligibility requirements and the different types of trustees
Date: Apr 02, 2014

Anyone with the capacity for property ownership can become a trustee at law. This may include a beneficiary of a trust. However, it is important to note that a sole beneficiary to a trust cannot be its trustee, because the position will cease to exist due to the merging of the separate and equitable estate. A corporate trustee is that of a company, which is permitted at law.

Lost Wills
Date: Mar 21, 2014

The law presumes that a will has been destroyed by the deceased with the intention of revoking the will if...

Applications For a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration on Presumption of Death
Date: Dec 17, 2013

An Application for a Grant of either Probate or Letters of Administration on presumption of death occurs in every case where the deceased’s body cannot be found. This is the case even though a Certificate of Death may have issued.

Informal and Stopgap Wills
Date: Nov 26, 2013

There may be circumstances in which as a result of time or other constraints the usual time and consideration that should be taken to prepare a formal will cannot be taken.

What is a “Benjamin Order”?
Date: Oct 04, 2013

An issue sometimes facing a plaintiff is establishing the identity or whereabouts of persons to whom the deceased’s estate or part of the estate should be distributed and the inability, despite adducing all available evidence, of ruling out the possibility that a person exists or that person had descendants who might still be alive.

Rectification of a Will by Court
Date: Oct 03, 2013

This area of the law is interesting and complex. The power of the Court to rectify or fix a mistake in a will is limited. Many cases involving clear mistakes in a will are not capable of rectification.

How do I keep my will safe after I have made it?
Date: Sep 04, 2013

There are several ways that a testator (the person who is making the will) can store her/his will and/or information about her/his will.

Will my will still be recognised by NSW law if I make it outside NSW?
Date: Jul 05, 2013

You may have made a will or be considering the possibility of making a will outside NSW. The relevant legislation deals with this situation.

TIME LIMIT (FROM DATE OF DEATH) FOR MAKING A FAMILY PROVISION CLAIM
Date: Jul 03, 2013

Section 58(2) of the Succession Act 2006 requires an application for a Family Provision Order to be made not later than 12 months from the date of death of the deceased person unless the court otherwise orders “on sufficient cause being shown”.

Does a solicitor taking instructions to draw a will owe a duty of care to beneficiaries
Date: May 09, 2013

It is settled law that a solicitor retained to draw a will and ensure that the will drawn up takes effect in accordance with its terms owes a duty of care to an intended beneficiary under the will. That duty gives rise to a duty to exercise reasonable care and skill in performance of those tasks – High Court decision of Hill v Van Erp 1977 HCA 9.

What happens to a superannuation benefit if a member passes away?
Date: Apr 01, 2013

Many individuals will have large superannuation benefits waiting to be cashed upon retirement, however, some people will sadly pass away before they are able to make a claim on their benefit. So the question will arise of how will a person’s superannuation entitlements be dealt with upon their passing, is a natural line of inquiry. Well, a member of a superannuation scheme is able to create a gift to their beneficiaries, but there are many considerations that need to be taken into account when bestowing a superannuation death benefit, and the process can be complex.

THE DOCTRINE OF “SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES” IN PROBATE CASES
Date: Mar 26, 2013

The doctrine of suspicious circumstances was explained in the case of Vernon v Watson (2002) NSWSC.

UNDUE INFLUENCE - CAPACITY TO MAKE A WILL – TESTAMENTARY CAPACITY
Date: Mar 25, 2013

It is often said that concepts of testamentary capacity and knowledge and approval of a will are distinct, and that the issue of knowledge and approval only arises once it is found that a willmaker has testamentary capacity.

TESTAMENTARY CAPACITY AND THE APPOINTMENT OF THE NSW TRUSTEE & GUARDIAN
Date: Mar 14, 2013

The making of an Order appointing the NSW Trustee & Guardian the manager of a person’s estate does not in all circumstances lead to the conclusion that the managed person lacks testamentary capacity during the currency of the order.

What is the effect of marriage on a will?
Date: Mar 13, 2013

There are a number of times in your life when you should review your will to make sure that it will give effect to your intentions in relation to your property and estate.

Life changes and wills
Date: Mar 12, 2013

Did you know that your will actually becomes invalid once you marry? Only in special circumstances does its validity continue after you marry.

Estate planning for unforeseen circumstances
Date: Mar 11, 2013

The importance of estate planning is most clearly seen when unforseen circumstances occur.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A BENEFICIARY WITNESSES A WILL?
Date: Mar 08, 2013

Section 10 of the Succession Act 2006 appears under the heading “Can An Interested Witness Benefit From A Disposition Under A Will?”

WHAT IS TESTAMENTARY CAPACITY – CAPACITY TO MAKE A WILL?
Date: Mar 07, 2013

To make a valid will a person must have testamentary capacity which is described as being “... of sound disposing mind when the will is made and there must be no coercion which overpowers the volition of the testator” – Hall v Hall (1868).

TESTAMENTARY CAPACITY – CAPACITY TO MAKE A WILL – WHAT DOES THE COURT CONSIDER?
Date: Mar 05, 2013

The approach to the issue of determining testamentary capacity has changed little since the 1924 decision of Bailey in which the following principles were set out.

WHAT IS UNDUE INFLUENCE IN PROBATE?
Date: Mar 03, 2013

Undue influence in probate is different from the equitable doctrine of undue influence.

CAN A MURDERER BENEFIT FROM THE ESTATE OF THE VICTIM? THE FORFEITURE RULE IN PROBATE CASES
Date: Mar 01, 2013

A person convicted of a crime is not generally prohibited from benefitting under a will. However under the Forfeiture Rule, a murderer cannot benefit under the will or intestacy of the victim nor will the murderer be granted letters of administration.

Can a Minor Make a Will or Revoke a Will?
Date: Feb 28, 2013

A minor is the legal description of a person under the age of 18 years. As a general rule a minor cannot make a will.

Considering debt with estate planning
Date: Feb 13, 2013

Debts do not just disappear when you die. Effective estate planning includes ensuring you are debt free when you die or alternatively leaving enough money behind so that your family are not left dealing with your debts.

Trustees: Who is eligible? And what are the different types?
Date: Feb 04, 2013

The position of trustee isn’t an overarching generic term that refers to a specific role, but rather, a trustee can encompass a number of different types, all tasked with fulfilling certain duties and responsibilities depending on the trustee type.

Examining the process of estate planning
Date: Feb 01, 2013

Estate planning is a term that is used fairly frequently but it's important to define and explain what's involved in such an undertaking.

Proper funeral planning
Date: Jan 31, 2013

If you are thinking about estate planning you should also think about the arrangements you'd like for yourself when it comes time for your farewell, this can be done by drafting a directive along with your will.

LITIGATION - Frequently Asked Questions
Date: Dec 04, 2012

Deciding how to settle a dispute - Choosing a process - Commencing litigation - Pre-trial procedures - Discontinuance or withdrawal - Enforcement of judgments - Costs of Litigation - Time limits - Lawyers

Who can apply for Letters of Administration?
Date: Nov 18, 2012

When a person dies without a will institutions such as banks, insurance companies and superannuation funds will often require someone to be granted Letters of Administration before funds of the deceased are released.

Estate planning involves appointing your children’s guardian
Date: Oct 04, 2012

For many people, one of the least enjoyable parts of estate planning is appointing your children’s guardian should you and your partner die before they turn 18.

Moral duty and family provision
Date: Oct 01, 2012

Any person who has a familiarity with matters involving family provision in Australia, may have either encountered the concept of ‘moral duty’, or have heard the term used in regards to such matters. The concept of moral duty and family provision legislation has become synonymous with one another that it would be a surprise to some that the term, ‘moral duty’, does not actually appear in any legislation dealing with family provision. Naturally, if moral duty has not been enshrined in legislation, where does the concept come from? Further questions may revolve around, how, and when, is the concept applied in regards to family provision.

Validity of a Will - What constitutes an informal will?
Date: Sep 17, 2012

When deciding the validity of a will a Court usually has to decide whether a document not duly executed sets out the testamentary intentions of the deceased.

Validity of a Will – Joint & Mutual Wills
Date: Sep 13, 2012

A joint Will is a Will dealing with the property of two or more testators in the one Will. Mutual Wills are Wills usually made by separate documents in which two or more persons execute separate Wills conferring reciprocal benefits upon each other.

Validity of a Will – Can Documents Referred to in a Will be Incorporated into the Will?
Date: Sep 12, 2012

Where documents are referred in a testator’s will but are not duly executed in accordance with statutory requirements, i.e. signed by the testator in front of not less than two witnesses who also signed the document in front of the testator and each other, those documents may be incorporated into the Will and included in the probate if they fulfil the following requirements.

Validity of a Will – Revoking a Will
Date: Sep 11, 2012

Section 11 of the Succession Act 2006 specifies the manner in which a Will can be revoked.

Validity of a Will – Does Divorce Revoke a Will?
Date: Sep 06, 2012

Section 13 of the Succession Act 2006 provides that, subject to a contrary intention in the Will, divorce revokes, in the existing Will.

Validity of a Will – Does Marriage Revoke a Will?
Date: Sep 05, 2012

Section 12 Succession Act 2006 specifies the effect of marriage on a Will and its validity.

Validity of a Will – Who Can Witness a Will
Date: Sep 04, 2012

Although it may be blinding obvious, a person who is unable to see or swear he or she saw the testator sign a document may not act as a witness to a Will - section 9 Succession Act 2006. A Will not properly witnessed, may be an invalid Will.

FAMILY PROVISION – ELIGIBLE PERSONS – FORMER SPOUSE OF THE DECEASED
Date: Jul 16, 2012

Former spouses are included in the definition of eligible persons in the Succession Act 2006 – Section 57(1)(d). The inclusion of former spouse as a category of eligible person enables the surviving partner of a dissolved or annulled marriage to claim against the estate of the deceased.

FAMILY PROVISION – PERSON ELIGIBLE TO APPLY MUST BE ALIVE
Date: Jul 16, 2012

The categories of “eligible persons” are set out in Section 57 of the Succession Act 2006 and include.

Family Provision Overview
Date: Jul 16, 2012

Gambling away inheritance?
Date: Jun 18, 2012

Lucy, Kate and Mark are concerned that if Rebecca dies before Ronald, he will gamble the estate away and Ronald will become financially dependent on them and/or will incur gambling debts that he will not be able to repay.

Is there a moral duty for a deceased to make provisions to family members?
Date: Jun 01, 2012

It’s probably safe to assume that many of us will make the appropriate provisions from our estate to family members in the event of our passing without too much issue. However, there may be instances where a person may not wish to make the appropriate provisions to family members for whatever reason they may be, and if such a thing does occur; is there a moral duty for family members to make the appropriate provisions? Furthermore, can the courts compel individuals to fulfil a ‘moral duty’ in providing for family members?

Time limits on Making a Family Provision claim
Date: May 30, 2012

A claimant has 12 months from the date of the deceased’s death to bring a claim for provision from the deceased’s estate. Under s58(2) of the Succession Act 2006 (NSW) the court may extend the time limitation where the claimant can show ‘sufficient cause’.

What happens if I leave a gift in my Will that no longer exists when I die?
Date: May 20, 2012

John and Mavis were married. John had one daughter Edwina. In 2001 John made a Will leaving his house to Mavis and the residue of his estate to Edwina. In 2005 John sold the house. John died after the house was sold.

Choosing your executor
Date: May 09, 2012

When making your Will one of the key decisions you must make is who to appoint as your executor.

How the creation of trusts used to avoid creditors, may be set aside
Date: May 02, 2012

People who are insolvent, may choose to create a trust to defeat the interests of a creditor. However, for anyone who wishes to create a trust specifically to bypass a creditor’s interests, the law does have the power to render such trusts void, if the effect or the purpose of the trust was to avoid a creditor.

8 reasons to have a lawyer draft your will
Date: Apr 30, 2012

With easy access to cheap and even free will kits why pay a lawyer to draft your will?

Testamentary Capacity
Date: Apr 01, 2012

A will may be disputed for a number of reasons and one issue that can arise is a lack of ‘testamentary capacity’ which may mean that the person is lacking the soundness of mind to draft a legally binding will. It is important when a person drafts a will that they have sufficient decision-making capacity when the will is drafted, otherwise the will may be considered invalid, and the courts may decide that a person has died intestate (without a valid will) and their assets will be distributed in line with intestacy laws.

Fixing errors in Wills
Date: Mar 28, 2012

When Barry signed his will he failed to pick up the mistake. When Barry died “The Gin Palace” had already been sold and as a result Tina was left without an inheritance. When such an error is made there are several options open to a beneficiary in Tina’s position.

Executor’s duties and liabilities – Debts of the deceased
Date: Mar 26, 2012

Depending the size of an estate and the nature of the will, being appointed and executor can be an onerous task. For example if the estate is large and includes a variety of assets an executor may spend many hours arranging the sale of those assets to realise their value before distribution. If the will is contentious the executor may be named as a defendant in proceedings brought by beneficiaries or claimants under the will.

When should a will be changed?
Date: Mar 02, 2012

Drafting a will can be a long, complicated process. Once it has been witnessed and filed away for safekeeping, it can be tempting to rarely think about it again. But keeping your will up to date is extremely important. Wills are often made years before a person dies, and there may be significant changes to an estate between when the will was written and when the will is executed.

Matters the Court looks at relating to proof of validity of a will.
Date: Mar 01, 2012

The rule with wills is that a later valid will prevails over an earlier valid will. The party claiming that the later will should prevail has the onus of proving that the later will is valid.

Why should I get a lawyer to write my will, when a will kit is a fraction of the cost?
Date: Mar 01, 2012

To begin with if you have a complex asset structure an estate planner will be invaluable in making sure your assets are devolved efficiently and in manner that affects your wishes. But more importantly a lawyer is in the best position to ‘future proof’ your will. That is draft it in a way that reflects your wishes and prevents your will being challenged once you die.

When should a will be changed?
Date: Feb 03, 2012

Drafting a will can be a long, complicated process. Once it has been witnessed and filed away for safekeeping, it can be tempting to rarely think about it again. But keeping your will up to date is extremely important. Wills are often made years before a person dies, and there may be significant changes to an estate between when the will was written and when the will is executed.

When someone dies without a will - applications for letters of administration
Date: Jan 30, 2012

Lucy’s father died some years ago and her mother, Esther died late last year. Lucy has an older sister who lives overseas and a younger brother. After searching Esther’s house high and low and contacting Esther’s lawyers, Lucy was unable to find any will made by her mother. Esther had a house in Petersham, two bank accounts, a superannuation fund, a car and various personal effects. When Esther died she had a modest credit card debt as well as some outstanding utility bills.

Euthanasia, Murder and Inheritance: can those who bring about the death inherit from the estate of the deceased?
Date: Jan 20, 2012

As Australia’s population rapidly ages euthanasia is becoming an ever more pressing issue. Some people who advocate euthanasia are already at a stage in their illness where they require assistance to take the own lives. This puts any person assisting to bring about the death who is also a beneficiary of the estate in a difficult legal position. Not only do they risk criminal prosecution but it can affect their position as a beneficiary of the estate of the person wishing to die.

Can a person create a trust for the maintenance of their pets?
Date: Jan 03, 2012

The bond between a pet and an owner can sometimes be so strong, that some people have actually named their pets as beneficiaries after their passing. Many of us have probably read or heard stories someone leaving instructions in their will for the maintenance of their pets, and some of us may have even guffawed at such a practice. However, the fact remains, that many people are rather quite attached to the pets and animals that they own, and there may even be a few readers who are wondering if gifts for maintenance can be made to their own animals. Does Australian law actually allow an animal to become a beneficiary?

Can I bequeath my heart?
Date: Dec 13, 2011

How superannuation death benefits are dealt with upon the death of a member
Date: Dec 01, 2011

All working Australians will be members of a superannuation fund, and with that in mind, it’s no surprise that according to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, the total amount of superannuation assets at the end of the 2010 financial year was $1.23 trillion. Many individuals will have large superannuation benefits waiting to be cashed upon retirement, however, some people will sadly pass away before they are able to make a claim on their benefit. So the question will arise of how will a person’s superannuation entitlements be dealt with upon their passing, is a natural line of inquiry.

When you can get a court ordered DNA test?
Date: Nov 28, 2011

Under s26 of the Status of Children Act 1996 a party to proceedings may apply to the Supreme Court for an order requiring a parentage testing procedure to be carried out for the purpose of obtaining information to assist in determining the parentage of the child.

Mum has left our family home to her new husband – what can we do?
Date: Nov 27, 2011

Before Jim and Genevieve married they decided to execute mutual wills. A mutual will is where each individual has a separate will but they confer reciprocal benefits on each other. Jim’s will stated that he would leave all of his estate to Genevieve and if she died the estate would be divided equally between their two children Julia and Jonty. Likewise Genevieve’s will left everything to Jim and to their two children if he died.

Is a will valid if a lawyer doesn’t sign it?
Date: Nov 21, 2011

In September Noreen handed Ngaire an envelope and said, “This is my will. You don’t need to read it now. Just hold on to it until I die.” Ngaire did not open the envelope but put it safely away in her top draw.

Who will look after your pets?
Date: Nov 15, 2011

For many, the processes of estate planning involves thinking about their family and loved ones - trying to take their circumstances into account and considering what measures they would like to take to promote their future happiness.

Challenging your parent’s will if they have left a larger portion of their estate to charity than to you.
Date: Nov 12, 2011

Some of the world’s super rich such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have famously left the bulk of their estate to charity and their children only a small fraction of their fortunes. Can you safely leave the majority of your estate to charity? Can you challenge your parent’s will if they have left a larger portion of their estate to charity than to you?

The importance of using the right words when drafting a will
Date: Nov 02, 2011

The words used in wills – much like other legal documents – need to be chosen carefully, because terms and phrases can easily be misconstrued and can have multiple meanings. As the person drafting a will, you may know what you meant in the will, but for others who are trying to decipher your wishes, they might have a bit more trouble. Keep in mind that in most instances, an executor and any beneficiaries will only be privy to the information in your will only after you have passed away. So needless to say, you won’t be able to clarify your wishes to the parties involved if any misunderstandings do arise. In order to ensure that your executor is able to administer your property and estate in line with your wishes, it’s important to bear in mind that you should always choose your words carefully when drafting a will.

Inheritances and Gifts in Family Law, how are they treated?
Date: Nov 01, 2011

Consider this example: John and Jill have been married for 10 years and have recently separated. Around 2 years ago Jill’s father died and Jill received an inheritance of $100,000. These monies were deposited into a joint bank account and have been used by the parties to assist in the purchase of a property. Now that the relationship has broken down what becomes of Jill’s inheritance?

Capital Gains Tax Considerations for Estates
Date: Oct 05, 2011

The taxation of estates can be quite complex depending upon the assets held by the deceased. For complex estates, it is important for the executor to have an understanding of relevant taxation principles. An executor’s choices when administering an estate can have a significant effect on the amount of tax paid and who pays the tax.

If the deceased has promised to look after someone; breach of promise/contract and family provision claims
Date: Sep 28, 2011

If someone promises to take care of you financially and then they die, what do you do?

UNSIGNED WILL; ORIGINAL COPY OF PREVIOUS SIGNED WILL LOST
Date: Sep 23, 2011

We acted for the son of the first marriage of the deceased. The second wife of the deceased sought to Probate an unsigned Will.

Coercion in making a will
Date: Sep 07, 2011

The case of Wingrove v Wingrove (1885) is the authority for the proposition that a testamentary disposition does not have a testator’s knowledge and approval if the testator was coerced into making a bequest.

What can a will be written on?
Date: Sep 07, 2011

In Estate of Slavinskyj (1989), testamentary dispositions written on the back of a packet of cornflakes were held to be valid.

Witnessing a will
Date: Sep 07, 2011

A prominent Cricket fan wishes to make a will, but doesn’t trust anyone associated with the consortium for which he barracks to witness it for him.

COMMENCING FAMILY PROVISION ACT PROCEEDINGS
Date: Sep 06, 2011

If the deceased died after 1 March 2009, proceedings for a family provision orders are commenced pursuant to the Succession Act 2009. The Family Provision Act 1982 was replaced by the Succession Act 2009 on 1 March 2009. A claimant has 12 months from the date of death in which to commence proceedings for a family provision order.

DISTRIBUTING THE ESTATE: protection against Family Provision Act claims
Date: Sep 06, 2011

A claim for an order from a deceased person’s estate for a family provision can be made up to 12 months from the date of death.

Capital Gains Tax Considerations for Estates
Date: Sep 05, 2011

The taxation of estates can be quite complex depending upon the assets held by the deceased. For complex estates, it is important for the executor to have an understanding of relevant taxation principles. An executor’s choices when administering an estate can have a significant effect on the amount of tax paid and who pays the tax.

Why is it so important to keep your Will updated?
Date: Aug 02, 2011

A recent decision from the Supreme Court of New South Wales has highlighted the need to keep your Will updated. In the NSW Trustee and Guardian v Ritchie [2011] the NSW Trustee applied to the Court for orders in relation to the administration of the Estate.

The Duties and Responsibilites of an Executor
Date: Jul 05, 2011

When a person passes away and leaves a valid will, it is up to the executor to make the funeral arrangements, obtain a grant of probate, pay off any debts to creditors and administer the estate of the will-maker according to their wishes. Needless to say, the responsibilities and duties of the executor are quite significant, so it is important that they carry out their role appropriately.

Creating a Living Will
Date: Jun 06, 2011

A Living Will is a document created to clarify intent with regard to future health concerns and treatment. The document itself is legitimised by setting up specific medical Enduring Power of Attorney while a person is in sound mind and able to do. This Power of Attorney may be held with a family member or other trusted person who is given the rights to make decisions regarding health and treatment when the person is no longer able to do so.

Mental or Testamentary Capacity To Make a Will
Date: May 20, 2011

Age, even great age, does not prevent a person having testamentary capacity to make or change their will. It is not even necessary that the willmaker be able to read or write, as long as appropriate steps are taken to make sure that they understand the will.

The Basics of Estate Planning
Date: Apr 01, 2011

Estate planning is important. One of the essential purposes of estate planning is to ensure that your beneficiaries receive the maximum possible benefit from your estate. This involves determining the most financially efficient and tax effective way to distribute your estate on death.

Estate Planning Strategies for Combined Families
Date: Mar 02, 2011

If you have a combined or blended family, you may wish to consult with a lawyer to consider some estate planning strategies suited to your needs. When people enter into a second relationship, they often have separate assets. They may wish to provide some or all of those assets to their own children, rather than to their new partner and his or her children. There are laws of family provision that must be taken into account when estate planning in these circumstances.

Obtaining Probate
Date: Feb 03, 2011

When a person dies leaving a valid will, their estate is distributed according to the terms of their will. Each state has unique legislation setting out the rules for administering the deceased’s estate.

Obtaining Access to the Deceased’s Will
Date: Nov 17, 2010

Getting to see the will of a deceased can sometimes be a problem. Section 54 of The Succession Act 2006 is designed to overcome that problem.

What on earth does Wills and Estates mean
Date: Nov 02, 2010

One of the most common complaints about lawyers and the law is the language used, which has even produced its own name, “legalese”. Why is that?

In Event of Death Who Will Watch Your Children
Date: Oct 07, 2010

Who will watch your children in the event of your death? If you have children younger than 18 years, this is a very important consideration. In your will, you may nominate one or more people to be your child's guardian in the event of your death. This may help to avoid any future disputes between family members by making your intentions clear. The question of 'who' is very important to any parent when nominating a guardian for their children, as well as what 'will' happen.

Security for Costs
Date: Aug 08, 2010

The general rule is that everyone should be able to enforce their rights in the Courts – poverty should be no bar to justice.

Make an Executive Decision & Appoint an Executor
Date: Aug 03, 2010

Thinking about making a will can be overwhelming. Part and parcel of writing a will is appointing an executor. Many people may not understand the responsibilities of an executor – whether it is appointing one or being named as one.

DIY will kits: will they hold up?
Date: Jul 02, 2010

Most of us have seen will kits in a newsagency, or seen them advertised on-line or in the press. Buying one is certainly cheaper than seeing your solicitor to make one, but do they work?

Organise Organ Donation
Date: Jun 04, 2010

A person can donate their organs after their death. It is advisable to think about whether you would like to donate your organs when drafting your will and informing your relatives.

Bankrupt Estates
Date: May 02, 2010

The most popular warning of wills and estates law is to always have a will. It appears that only two options are available: intestate or testate. But even having a valid will can bring about a new option in dealing with an estate if a deceased had more debts than assets, it is necessary that the estate is treated differently than from a normal administration by virtue of the Probate and Administration Act 1898 (NSW).

The Guardianship Tribunal
Date: Feb 02, 2010

More and more of us today are doing the wise thing, and appointing attorneys and guardians by Enduring Powers of Attorney and Guardianship Appointments.

Missing Wills and Court Proceedures
Date: Jan 02, 2010

Most of us realise that it is a smart step to have an appropriate will in place, but its important to make sure that your next of kin knows where the will is kept. If a will cannot be located, the estate will be dealt with as an intestate estate and your assets will be distributed according to the law and not necessarily as you would have wanted. The beneficiaries will also ultimately bear higher expenses.

Missing Wills and Court Proceedures
Date: Dec 02, 2009

Most of us realise that it is a smart step to have an appropriate will in place, but its important to make sure that your next of kin knows where the will is kept. If a will cannot be located, the estate will be dealt with as an intestate estate and your assets will be distributed according to the law and not necessarily as you would have wanted. The beneficiaries will also ultimately bear higher expenses.

Changes to the Intestacy Laws in NSW
Date: Nov 30, 2009

The Succession Amendment (Intestacy) Bill 2009 (“the Bill”) was assented on 9 June 2009. It will come into effect from early next year 2010. The laws will change how estates are distributed if the deceased die intestate, i.e. without a valid will. A person who dies without leaving a valid Will is referred to as “the intestate”.

Do I Need a Power of Attorney?
Date: Nov 01, 2009

Powers of Attorney are documents that have been around for hundreds of years. Put simply, a Power of Attorney is a document whereby one person – the "donor" – gives another – the "attorney" – the power to sign legal documents on their behalf. They can be given by companies or individuals. For example, banks will sometimes appoint senior staff members to sign various specified documents on the bank’s behalf.

Should I Appoint an Enduring Guardian?
Date: Oct 03, 2009

People usually hear about appointing a guardian in one of three ways: their solicitor may talk about it when discussing a will, a financial advisor may ask if there is one in place, or a retirement village or hospice may require a prospective resident to have one.

But he's not capable of Making a Will!
Date: Sep 02, 2009

One of the essential requirements for making a will is that the testator - the will-maker - has the mental capacity to do so, that they know what they are doing. The same requirement exists for revoking a will, and giving someone an enduring power of attorney does not give the attorney the power to make a will.

There's no death duty nowadays, is there?
Date: Aug 03, 2009

Premier Jo Bjelke-Petersen of Queensland has been a rather controversial figure in Australian political history, but one of the lesser known facts about him is that he was responsible for the end of death and estate duties in Australia. For many years both the individual states and the Commonwealth imposed death duties, known as estate duty for the Commonwealth version. Premier Jo abolished death duty in Queensland, and the resultant rush of investment into Queensland led to his lead being followed throughout Australia, so there are no death duties as such in our country.

Court Made Wills
Date: Jul 21, 2009

In a recent judgment of the Supreme Court in Re Fenwick: Application of JR Fenwick & Re “Charles” [2009] NSW SC530 the Court considered and applied for the first time new provisions of the Succession Act 2006 (NSW), which confer power on the Court to authorise the Registrar to make, alter or revoke a will on behalf of a person who lacks testamentary capacity.

Where there is NOT a Will, There is a Way
Date: Jul 02, 2009

Around half of all Australians do not have a will, so they will not have a say in what happens to their estate when they die! Surprising, but true.

He didn't leave a will. What happens now
Date: Jun 02, 2009

Most of us know what a will is, and if we think about it (which often we don't) we know we should have one. Many Australians, however, do not have one, and this can cause extra expense, delays and complications when they die.

He didn't leave me anything
Date: May 05, 2009

When someone dies, the terms of their will can cause jealousy, distress or upset in a surprising number of cases. What can someone do if they think that they have not been treated fairly in a will?

The Will fundamentals
Date: Apr 05, 2009

Most of the disputes about wills fall into one or the other of two categories. These are either that someone has not been provided for adequately in the will, or that some formality has not been complied with.

Can You Disinherit Your Children?
Date: Dec 03, 2008

Is it is possible to disinherit your children? Some will makers believe it is or should be.

FAMILY PROVISION ACT CLAIMS – Able bodied adult children and Prevailing Community Standards
Date: Nov 24, 2008

A recent decision in the New South Wales Court of Appeal analysed what is ‘proper maintenance education and advancement in life’ for able bodied adult children – SMILEK V PUBLIC TRUSTEE [2008] NSWCA 190.

Can you prevent a Family Provisions Act claim by careful will drafting?
Date: Sep 06, 2008

The Family Provision Act (1982)(FPA) restricts that freedom to make a will by allowing classes of people, defined in the FPA as “eligible persons”, to make a claim if those persons consider they have been left with inadequate provision for their proper maintenance, education and advancement in life.

Family Provision Act Claims – Prescribed Transactions and Notional Estate
Date: Sep 06, 2008

The Family Provision Act (1982)(FPA) allows the court to designate property as “notional estate” and make Orders with respect to notional estate in order to satisfy an order for provision in claims by an eligible person.

When should I make a will?
Date: Mar 01, 2008

What is a will?
Date: Jan 01, 2008

Can I write my own will?
Date: May 01, 2007

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