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Wills and Estates

Wills and Estates

P.M. Lee & Co. Lawyers provide Wills and Estates services in four main areas:

  • Preparing your will
  • Administering an estate
  • Contesting a will
  • Family Provision Claims

When you pass away, your loved ones will be emotionally distraught. It will be hard enough for them to cope with their normal daily activities as well as arranging your funeral and dealing with other bereaved family members.

Do not make it harder by leaving your financial affairs in a mess. The last thing your surviving spouse or family members need is uncertainty and fights about financial matters.

Even a simple will can smooth the process. It will identify who is to look after your affairs, and what they are to do with your property. The existence of a properly signed will allows the named executor to get the process started even before probate is granted. This helps for essential matters such as organising the funeral, accessing your account to pay for the funeral and paying your other bills and periodical expenses. 

This will relieve stress and worries at this difficult time and allow legal and financial issues to be pushed back (as they should be) until the grieving process, and personal issues are dealt with.

A properly signed Will will also save substantial costs in estate administration. If there is no will, costly Supreme Court proceedings become essential to sort through difficult issues, such as who should be appointed to administer the estate. Furthermore, the funds must be distributed to spouses and children according to a strict legal formula (the intestacy rules), which cannot take account of the complex family relationships and claims that exist in your family. 

Of course, preparing a will is not always simple. It involves identifying your assets, noting property owned as a joint tenant, considering the involvement of family companies and trusts, and considering superannuation funds, and insurance policies. Finally, we must consider what effect your death might have on all of these.

For many clients, we recommend more complex wills incorporating testamentary trusts, life estates, or provisions for grandchildren and others. For some, we must deal with children from prior relationships and the myriad other factors and relationships that make up family arrangements.

Contesting a Will

Where a valid will has been made, it is unlikely that it will be overturned.

Most of the problems involving a contested will depend upon whether the document that purports to be the last will and testament of the deceased is, in fact, valid. Essentially the will can be attacked on the following bases: 

  • It was altered after it was signed
  • It was procured by undue influence or fraud
  • It was revoked

 

  • Contesting a will
  • Family Provision Claims

Estate Disputes

Apart from the matters referred to above, a will may be attacked under the Succession Act Act Qld to remedy a situation where dependents believe they have not been adequately provided for.

Eligible persons may apply for a share (or a greater share) of an estate. However, they must establish the need and prove that the testator did not make adequate provision for them in the estate for their maintenance or advancement of education in life. Basically, the eligible person is normally concerned with questions of the reasonableness of provision. Eligible persons are:

  • The deceased’s spouse at the date of death
  • Someone with whom the deceased was living in a domestic relationship
  • A child of the deceased person
  • A former spouse of the deceased person
  • A dependent of the deceased, which may include persons related or unrelated to the deceased, including foster children and persons in a same-sex relationship