Wills & Estate Planning Articles

A vexed question which frequently confronts many a Will maker, is how can a benefit left in a Will be protected if the beneficiary later experiences a marital or de facto relationship breakdown? You might find yourself wondering, ‘can a divorced spouse inherit?’.  In Australia, it can be difficult to quarantine inheritances in divorce settlements…. Read more »

If your marriage or de facto relationship has ended, it’s crucial that you finalise your divorce property settlement (either by consent or through the Family Court) as soon as possible. But what happens if someone dies before the settlement is final? It ultimately depends on when the death occurred. Keep reading to learn more about… Read more »

Statutory Wills in South Australia

by | Wills & Estate Planning

In order to validly make a Will, a testator must have testamentary capacity.  Section 7 of the Wills Act, 1936 empowers the Supreme Court of South Australia to authorise a Will to be made on behalf of a person who lacks testamentary capacity, in certain circumstances.  Such Wills are known as a Statutory Wills. In… Read more »

What is Testamentary Capacity? In order for a will to be valid, a testator must have testamentary capacity at the time the will was executed. The test for determining testamentary capacity is set out in the English case of Banks v Goodfellow (1870) LR 5 QB 549; namely that the testator must be of sound… Read more »

What is Testamentary Freedom? Testamentary freedom is the long-standing common law principle that a person has complete discretion to dispose of their property through their will in whichever manner they choose.  Chief Justice Cockburn in the decision of Banks v Goodfellow (1870) LR 5 QB 549 stated that “The law of every civilised people concedes… Read more »

Retirement Villages are increasingly becoming a preferred mode of accommodation for senior Australians.  In South Australia the Retirement Villages Act 2016 came into force on 1 January 2018. The new Act sets out the rights and obligations of residents and retirement village operators, and specifies information which must be provided to a prospective resident in… Read more »

In July 2017 the New South Wales government announced an inquiry into retirement village operators. The focus of the inquiry related to certain charges embedded in the residence contracts. The main area of concern was the Deferred Management Fee which arose on the residents’ exit from the village. We are aware of one instance where… Read more »

What is a reseal of a grant of probate? Usually an executor will apply for a grant of probate or letters of administration in the State where the deceased person was residing when they died. Generally, this will also be the place where the deceased held most of their assets. However, if the deceased owned… Read more »

Australia’s aging population is growing each year and with that has brought a demand for legal services tailored specifically to the needs of our seniors and often their families as well. What is Elder Law? As people age and become increasingly vulnerable there are many areas of law that may affect them that until then… Read more »

The loss of a family member is always a difficult time. Even more so when you discover that you have been left out of a Will, or have received less than you believe you were entitled to. In this scenario you may find yourself asking “can a Will be contested?” Generally, a person has the… Read more »

Probate SA

by | Probate, Wills & Estate Planning

What is Probate? Probate is the process by which a deceased person’s will is “proved” in the Probate SA Registry of the Supreme Court of South Australia. Before any executor named in the will can legally deal with a deceased’s person’s assets, the Court must be satisfied that the person’s will is valid and that… Read more »

Informal Wills

by | Wills & Estate Planning

Informal wills are wills which do not satisfy the formal requirements of execution under section 8 of the Wills Act, 1936.  For information as to the legal requirements to create a valid and binding will see our article ‘Proper Execution and Witnessing of Will is Vital‘. Requirements for a Valid Will In South Australia, a will… Read more »

We have all heard stories of people using their Will to spite beneficiaries by leaving everything to charity or the family pet.  But what about Will makers who want to have the last word and let people know what they really thought?  What if the Will maker’s last words are lies, designed to hurt and… Read more »

Where To Store Your Will

by | Wills & Estate Planning

As a Wills and estates lawyer, I often come across clients that underestimate how important correct Will storage is. You’ve finally got around to making a Will – what happens next to ensure it’s safe? You need to know where to store your Will. Your Will is an important legal document and needs to be… Read more »

Revocation of Wills in SA

by | Wills & Estate Planning

Once a Will is written, signed and witnessed it becomes a valid legal document and will remain in force until the testator formally changes or revokes it.  The revocation of Wills in South Australia can occur in a number of different ways under the provisions of the Wills Act, 1936 (SA) or by common law… Read more »