Disputes over Wills – What are the main causes – Avoiding Will Disputes

A recent national survey revealed that over one third of Australians have experienced conflict over deceased estates.  Why ?  How can you minimise the risk? Read on….

The research conducted by Slater and Gordon Lawyers showed that the main causes of wills disputes are:
•  A sense that the assets were unfairly divided
•  The division of sentimental items, such as photos, letters or clothing
•  Differences of opinion around what the deceased would have wanted
•  The use of an asset such as a house
•  Unethical or unfair behaviour of the executor

The research also identified the main factors that could help minimise disputes:
•  Greater communication and clearer instructions while the person was still alive
•  A letter or video explaining their approach and reasoning
•  Those left behind adopting a less competitive approach to the distribution of assets

In my experience as an estate planning and asset protection lawyer, it is all too common for people to have Wills that do not clearly explain how and why their assets are to be divided. Uncertainly causes a great deal of added strain and stress on grieving family members …… what did s/he really mean is a question that resonates round the heads of those remaining behind, and the answers then to err on the negative.

Thank you to the copyright owner - home truths in a snapshot

Thank you to the copyright owner – home truths in a snapshot

To minimise the chances of a disharmony and dispute it is paramount that people clearly articulate in their wills how their assets are to be divided and communicate the reasons why to the family.  The earlier the better.  Sometimes a letter to the executor explaining their wishes can be very helpful.

The single most important thing is to avoid ‘surprises’ and ‘misunderstandings’ that arise when you have passed away.

Identify potential areas of dispute before you pass away, and address them yourself.   Communicate, communicate, communicate – before you pass away.  Don’t let your will be a grenade that you lob amongst your family from the other side.

Have individual meetings or even family meetings to explain yourself.  Just think – if you can’t resolve them when you are there to manage expectations, how do you think your family will resolve issues when you aren’t around? It’s not difficult to imagine what will occur.
Leave behind fond memories.   Don’t let your legacy be a family feud you created.

Have your will reviewed every three to five years to ensure it is current; and keep in mind that changed financial circumstances such as the acquisition or sale of an asset, births, deaths, marriages and divorces are just a few of the events that may require a will to be reviewed.

I’m a specialist estate planning lawyer + professional traveller + keen photographer + political observer. I like to share my experiences across all four devotions – often as a mixed lot. If you like this blog please subscribe for more.

 

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WILLS FOR PETS ?:    Wills for Pets ?

 

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Disclaimer: this blog is of a general nature for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Readers should seek specific help for their specific circumstances.


Wills for Pets ! ?

Much has recently been written about the necessity for making provision in your Will for your pets.  See the Links at the end of this post.

Kramer - My Dogson

Kramer – My Dogson

If you plan to leave money for their care then a provision in your Will makes sense.  Your Will can provide for a trust to protect and manage the moneys, and importantly, deal with any money left over when your pet passes away.

As for caring for you pet … common sense should prevail, not your Will.

The secret to proper care for you pet is to communicate with the intended carer before you die.  Don’t surprise someone in your Will.  They may not want the responsibility.

Again – communicate, communicate, communicate – before you pass away.

When ?

You tell me when you plan to die and you will have answered that question for yourself.

Don’t know?

None of us do, so I guess the right time is now as we can’t predict the unforeseen accident or injury, illness or terrorist attack – so today might be a good time to think about it.  Tomorrow MAY BE a good day to have a chat to your proposed carer.

See if they are willing.  If not it’s better to know now while you can do something about it than leave the task to your executor after you pass away.

I’m a specialist estate planning lawyer + professional traveller + keen photographer + political observer. I like to share my experiences across all four devotions – often as a mixed lot. If you like this blog please subscribe for more.

Check out these links:

http://www.lifestyle.com.au/pets/do-you-need-a-pet-trust-or-will.aspx

http://rspcavic.org/documents/giving/Leaving-gift-in-will/RSPCA-Bequest-Animal-Program-brochure.pdf

I INVITE YOUR COMMENTS

If you have any comments about this blog or tips to add to this blog please do so – your comments and tips will help all of us in our travels.
ROD_8399

Use the ‘leave a comment’ link at the top right hand side of the blog (above my photo) to send a message to me.

Use the “Follow” link at the bottom of the column on the right to subscribe to this blog.

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Disclaimer: this blog is of a general nature for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Readers should seek specific help for their specific circumstances.