The time when many families are at their least unified and most fractured is often not at the death of a valued family member, but in the division of their estate. We have recently seen reports of cases where very wealthy individuals attempt to arrange their affairs in a way to favour certain parties and the sheer sum of money involved can result in a range of challenges being made to an estate.
Some of the ways that people challenge Wills in these situations include to complain that their children or grandchildren are disproportionately affected by a certain division – that is, that one lineage is favoured over the other. In other cases, it may be argued that a Will did not represent the true intent of the deceased, or that they had asked for a new Will but a lawyer failed to act in a reasonable time.
There is also the effect or influence of a late-in-life spouse, or indeed of the children of a previous marriage feeling that they are have been ignored in favour of the new love interest.
What does this mean?
We have seen some people write clauses into their Wills that say, ‘I sincerely ask that all beneficiaries are sensible and do not argue’ – only to not have that wish fulfilled at all or in the slightest. If you are looking at making a Will, or updating an existing one, its drafting needs to be carefully and patiently considered to avoid your wishes not being fulfilled and to limit the possibility of future arguments.
A quick Will in complex circumstances will not ask the right questions, and a considered, thoughtful lawyer is vital.
How can Nevett Ford assist you?
If you have significant assets, or indeed any assets, believe there may be a disparity or dispute about who might get what in your estate, just want to make sure your children are properly cared for and their funds aren’t wasted, or if you are considering making or updating an existing Will, you should contact our Wills and Estates Lawyers in Melbourne to discuss all the relevant matters and issues that may need to be addressed.
Often we find that a Will is not enough to deal with your assets and a more in depth Estate Plan is needed to help you plan out the intergenerational transfer of your wealth, for example by way of trust and company structures where your wishes can become more certain, and may even survive your passing.
You can contact us on 03 9614 7111 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.