Wills & Estate Planning Articles

In my opinion, there is no more important time to consider your estate planning than when you are part of a blended family, whether that involves a second marriage, or a de facto relationship where one or both of you have your own children, or a first relationship with a partner who has their own… Read more »

I am often asked: “But if I die without a Will, won’t it just go to my family anyway?” This statement is basically true, but it is the manner in which your estate would be distributed and the obstacles to be negotiated in order to make it happen that one should be concerned about. The… Read more »

On 1 July 2015 some long-awaited changes to the rules governing Probate applications in South Australia came into force. The aim was to make the rules simpler, easier to understand and easier to implement. Having worked with the new rules for one year, here are some things to watch out for when preparing to apply… Read more »

Will preparation sometimes brings us in contact with terminally ill people.  Such clients have often been given life expectancy time frames and wish to ‘get their affairs in order’.  Whilst everyone’s circumstances are different there are some ‘essential documents’ that should be put in place to ensure that your wishes both before and after you die… Read more »

The failure of a gift in a Will is called “Ademption”.  For example a willmaker may leave a house in a Will but then sell the house.  The gift in the Will is said to have adeemed or failed. Ademption may also occur as a result of a legal rule, the “doctrine against double portions”…. Read more »

There are benefits to making gifts during your lifetime as opposed to waiting until your death to pass on your inheritance. However, there are also potential pitfalls if such gifts are not properly considered in light of your estate planning as a whole. Anyone can give another person an inter vivos gift (i.e. given during… Read more »

It is often said that superannuation is an asset generally dealt with separately from your Will and the rest of your Estate. It doesn’t have to be and, depending on the situation, a carefully considered distribution of superannuation is often integral to good estate planning (and reducing the tax impost on your beneficiaries). In many… Read more »

In the case of Mead v Lemon [2015] WASC 71 handed down 26 February 2015 by Master Sanderson in the Western Australian Supreme Court the deceased’s daughter was successful in having her $3 million inheritance increased to $25 million. The deceased’s estate in this matter may have exceeded $1 billion but the amount in dispute was… Read more »

International Wills

by | Wills & Estate Planning

A Will is a document that sets out what should happen to your assets when you die. In today’s world it is increasingly common for individuals to own assets in more than one country due to immigration, travel or temporary relocation. This can cause complications when it comes to proving the validity of a Will,… Read more »

Sometimes after an older person dies it becomes apparent that there has been a transfer of property or other assets belonging to the vulnerable older person to another party for nil or less than market value.  Family members not involved in the transaction may wish to explore reversing it.  What remedies are available to the… Read more »

One of the main reasons why people make the effort to prepare or update their wills is to make sure that their infant children are taken care of.  The Guardianship of Infants Act 1940 (SA), Section 13 provides each parent of a minor child (under 18 years of age) with the right to appoint a testamentary guardian… Read more »

Often I am asked what happens to a Will once it has been executed. Many people have an expectation that there is some central storage area or register of Wills. In fact this is not the case and the storage of a Will is entirely in the hands of the willmaker. So well may you… Read more »

Like all legal fictions, the most common forms of land ownership seem deceptively simple but in fact they can be quite complicated. Anna Pantelios provides a useful outline of the differences between joint tenancy and tenants-in-common from a conveyancing perspective in her article “Joint Tenants or Tenants-in-Common?” but confusion continues.  The legal consequences of getting… Read more »

Advance Care Directives

by | Wills & Estate Planning

The Advance Care Directives Act, 2013 (SA) came into operation on 1 July 2014.  The Act allows adults to make legally binding arrangements for their future health care, end of life wishes, living arrangements and other lifestyle matters by appointing one or more Substitute Decision Makers in an Advance Care Directive (“ACD”) Form. Enduring Powers… Read more »

Trusts are appropriate legal structures in many circumstances.   However even a well thought out trust structure supported by an excellent trust deed will fail the settlor’s aims if the trustee is untrustworthy.   What is a Trust? A Trust is an arrangement where X holds or controls property for Y.  In this case X… Read more »