LEGAL ADVENTURES OF THE CLARKE FAMILY
Chapter 1 - Wills
Jason’s father passed away recently survived by his second wife Martha.
Jason has been called into the office of his father’s solicitor for advice in relation to the estate.
He arrives early and nervously fidgets with a magazine in the waiting room when Martha arrives.
He and Martha are summoned to the board room by the solicitor who announces that Jason’s father did not leave a Will.
As a result Martha the surviving spouse receives the entire estate of Jason’s father as he died intestate (without a Will).
Upset and angry, Jason confronts the solicitor and shouts “But Dad wanted his grandchildren to have the house and told me he had superannuation of one million dollars for Martha plus $200,000 in the bank, a car and all his personal belongings!”
Tom the solicitor says “Jason I am really sorry but that is the law. Although I cannot advise you I suggest you seek independent legal advice if you wish to challenge this result.”
Any person who owns an asset/s should leave a Will. This will allow you to decide where your estate should go after you pass away, and avoid the situation Jason is currently facing as his father did not leave a Will (which is not an uncommon situation).
If you leave a Will it can be challenged but you can take steps to minimise any future challenges that may arise.
Q and A
Q: If I write out my wishes as to who will get what on my death on a piece of paper will this be satisfactory?
A: No, the law requires a will to be signed by you and 2 independent witnesses simultaneously, but in some cases the court can override these strict requirements.
Q: Can I contest a Will of my grandfather who died 3 years ago that excluded me from any benefits?
A: No, you need to start court proceedings to challenge a Will within one year of the death of the willmaker but in some circumstances the court will allow you to make a late application.
Q: I have been fighting with my wife regularly over the last 3 years and wish to exclude her from my Will. Is this possible?
A: It is possible but she will be able to contest the Will. She is very likely to be awarded a share of the estate by the court unless there are extenuating circumstances as to why this should not happen.
How can E Berman & Co Solicitors help me?
E Berman & Co Solicitors is a Chatswood law firm that has been providing quality legal services to the public since 1984. Contact our office on 9412 2493 – we’re more than happy to have a quick chat! You can also visit us on our website for more information.
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