The act of making a will is the last time you exercise control over your money and property and it is an opportunity to know your family will be looked after in the way you intended after you are gone.
A will is a legal document which distributes your assets according to your wishes. You will need to appoint a person, called an executor, who will distribute your assets to the beneficiaries. It also appoints a guardian to have all the powers, rights and responsibilities, for making decisions about the long-term care, welfare and development of your child/children.
To be able to make a will you need to be of sound mind and an adult (unless you have a court order).
As you grow older circumstances change and it is for this reason you should regularly review your will. You may need to alter your will for those changing circumstances (i.e. birth of children/grandchildren, death of beneficiary or executor, financial changes, home or property changes) or your will may have been revoked by an event (i.e. marriage).
If you die without making a will then your estate will be distributed in accordance with the intestacy rules which may not accord with what you had intended or wished.
Once you have been appointed an executor we can assist you in obtaining the required grant of probate (required to administer most wills), identify the assets and liabilities, distribute the estate to the beneficiaries and wind up the estate. We will ensure you comply with your legal obligations and take the worry and hassle out of the process.
If the deceased died intestate (without a will) we can assist you to apply for letters of administration which gives the applicant the power to deal with the estate. We can then assist you to administer the estate and comply with your legal obligations.
If you are the executor or administrator of the estate and the will is challenged, you will be required to act on behalf of the estate. You should seek legal advice immediately upon receiving notice that the will is going to be contested.
If you have been left out of a will, feel you did not receive an adequate share and/or provision was not made for adequate maintenance and support, you may be able to do something about it. Commonly, a will may be challenged / disputed on the basis of:
- the validity of the will;
- failure to provide adequate maintenance and support (a family provision application);
- capacity to make the will;
- missing from a will;
- how the estate is administered;
- removing an executor.
You may make a family provision application if you are:
- a spouse;
- a de-facto spouse;
- a child;
- a step child;
- an estranged child;
- a dependant.
Strict time limits apply should you wish to challenge a will. You must notify the estate that you are challenging the will within 6 months from date of death. Furthermore, you must bring the application within 9 months from the date of death.
Call Russo Lawyers today on (07) 3238 1888 or 1800 558 553 for more information.
You may also contact us via email