Jodie from GKS explains who can contest a Will and the steps that can be taken to reduce the chances of this happening.
There are often complicated issues to be addressed when thinking about your estate planning, particularly if your family is not the traditional family structure.
Increasingly, families consist of natural children, step-children and adopted children. In Estate Planning parents are faced with trying to make sure that they look after the needs and expectations of a number of different family members.
The competing needs are those of natural children versus step-children and also adult children of a first relationship versus minor children of a later relationship.
The persons entitled to bring a claim upon your estate is your spouse, your children and any other person who was financially dependent upon you at the time of your death. The term ‘children’ includes your stepchildren, adopted children and may include foster children (as long as they are under 18). The people who cannot claim from your estate are your parents, your siblings, your grandchildren, your nieces and nephews or more remote family members. The only exception is if they are being financially supported by you or in a dependent relationship with you when you die.
The law in Queensland allows for certain people in your life to challenge the terms of your Will after you die if they don’t feel that they have been given an adequate benefit under the terms of the Will.
If you have been excluded from a Will in circumstances as the spouse, child or a dependent of the deceased you should seek advice from a Wills & Estates lawyer about your rights and circumstances.
If your intentions are to limit or exclude someone who is likely to challenge your Will, then there are a number of steps which can be taken to reduce the chances of someone being successful in challenging your Will.
It is critical to seek advice from an experienced Wills and Estates lawyer to properly understand the application of the law before writing your Will. If, after seeking advice, you choose to limit or exclude a beneficiary it is recommended that you provide a Statutory Declaration explaining the reasons for making your Will in a certain way.
It is also possible for you to reduce the assets that form part of your estate. Superannuation can be excluded from your Estate by making valid binding nominations in favour of specific beneficiaries.
You can also transfer assets or control of assets. This should only be done in consultation with an experienced Wills and Estates lawyer, your accountant and your financial advisor.
Original article from Peninsula Life magazine