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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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.


Do you want a blog that speaks to you – what do you want? Ask me.

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.  If you have a comment or request – bring it on.

Whilst you’re here please enjoy a few of my snaps and recommend my blog to others. No prizes…just surprises.

Exploring Ningaloo Reef

Exploring Ningaloo Reef

Balloning in Egypt - Enjoying the beauty

Balloning in Egypt – Enjoying the beauty

Still in Egypt - Arable meets arid - life's contrasts

Still in Egypt – Arable meets arid – life’s contrasts

Victoria Falls - Zambia Sharing a moment with my son Mark

Victoria Falls – Zambia
Sharing a moment with my son Mark

..... and swimming with Mark in Antarctica....cold!

….. and swimming with Mark in Antarctica….cold!

Observing observations

Observing observations

Keeping the hot air where it belongs

Keeping the hot air where it belongs

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

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

Communicating serious estate planning messages whilst staying grounded.

My serious face with my lawyers uniform on.

My serious face with my lawyer’s uniform on

....and always shooting for the stars - especially when in Mongolia

….and always shooting for the stars – especially when in Mongolia

And some times just because its there

And some times just because its there

colour glorious colour

colour glorious colour

and always a word of advice...never too old or too young to listen.....or learn

and always a word of advice…never too old or too young to listen…..or learn


Death with dignity

Do you leave the best morsel of baked potato to last – to savour it? Put off the pleasure to a time you can enjoy it most. Build the suspense. Build the expectation of something special. Sacrifice the present, the moment, in anticipation of the future. Lose the joy of each moment along the way….. only to find your dream has gone cold and soggy.

I put off the joy of blogging because it’s my self-treat – I wait for a moment when I’m relaxed and have time. The result – blogs that are few and far between. Or forced and fake.

I have a mentor who constantly reminds me that ….. now is good.

So I’m in a hotel room, it’s late, I’m exhausted after an exhilarating day-long workshop. I’m too wound up to sleep so I visit Facebook. Maybe I can see what my kids are up to?Silence on that front….they know I check!

But I spot a post. I’d like to share it with you, and ask – will we ever have this choice here in Australia, or do we have to keep our passports and US visa current?

…so here it is…

Frank Somerville KTVU
This is Brittany Maynard.
image
She is 29 years old.
And she has only 25 days left to live.
On November 1st, Brittany plans to die.

She says:
“I will die upstairs in my bedroom.
I will pass peacefully with some music that I like in the background. “

Brittany is suffering from stage 4 Brain Cancer.
She was married late last year.
Shortly after that she started having headaches.

In January, doctors told her she had stage 2 Brain Cancer.
They gave her 3-10 years to live.

But then in April, the news got even worse.
Her cancer was now stage 4.
(The worst it can get)
Doctors told her she now only had 6 months to live.

“I wish there was a cure for my disease, but there’s not.”

Brittany was living in the Bay Area.
But after learning she was going to die soon, she and her family moved to Portland, Oregon.

The reason: Oregon has a “Death with Dignity” law.
That means Brittany can choose when to end her life, instead of suffering.

Brittany says:
“I can’t even tell you the relief that provides me.
There is not a cell in my body that is suicidal or that wants to die.
(But) my Glioblastoma is going to kill me and it’s a terrible, terrible way to die.
Being able to choose to go with dignity is less terrifying.”

So Brittany has picked November 1st to die:

“I really wanted to celebrate my husband’s birthday, which is October 30.
I’m getting sicker, dealing with more pain and seizures and difficulties so I just selected it.”

She will use medication prescribed by her doctor.

“I plan to be surrounded by my immediate family, my mother, my step-father, my husband, and my best friend.”

During her last days, Brittany has been traveling.
She loves the outdoors.
She’s gone to Yellowstone Park and Alaska.
She hopes to make it to the Grand Canyon, but time is running out.

Brittany has made a video about her life and impending death.
It’s six minutes long.
I watched it twice.
I broke down both times.
It’s heartbreaking.
But at the same time there is something so inspiring about her.
She’s very matter of fact and very direct.
Here’s a link if you’d like to see it.
http://www.thebrittanyfund.org/

At the end of the video, Brittany has a message for everyone:

“Make sure you’re not missing out.
Seize the day.
What do you care about?
What matters?
Pursue that.
Forget the rest.”

I’m going to write that down and put it on my desk at work.
I want to see her words every day.

And for the sake of this post, I will assume that if you want to hit “like” it means you have Brittany in your thoughts.

Some quotes courtesy People Magazine
Timeline Photos

Rod Cunich preferred (2)

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.

PS (to my mentor) Tony, back on the horse – even if it’s borrowed


My Mate – The World’s Worst Photographer

My good friend George, a mate for over 40 years, is the world’s worst photographer. He is successful at every thing he has ever focused on – but ‘snaps’ just didn’t rank as a priority. He tried a dozen different cameras before he decided “it was him, not the tool”.

That all changed. A hiking trip in Nepal to the base camp at Mt Everest opened his eyes to the beauty around him. Capturing it on film was a piece of cake.

The turning point? What made the difference?

He took time to see what he was looking at. To observe the beauty and soak in vibe. Recording it just followed.
GM NepalGM Nepal-3GM Nepal

A bit like planning for the future.

First you need to take time to take stock. Look at what exists around you, and evaluate it. Appreciate the good bits and recognise the not so good bits – so you can manage and deal with them rather than ignore them.

They have a habit of coming back to haunt you, whether a health issue, relationship problem, business risk or other thorn in your virtual side – ignoring it won’t make it go away.

The most ignored aspects of our life are death, illness and potential lost of capacity through illness, accident or the ageing process.

Take a leaf out of George’s book, make a conscious effort to slow down, observe what is around you, record it and use your observations and captured memories to plan the rest of you journey.

Now George sees and captures beauty in almost everything he looks at. Then uses every skerrick of information to plan his next venture, his journey through life. So much so he’s taken the time to address those personal and financial issues necessary to enable him to continue to fulfill his dreams whilst he can…..and help his kids do likewise when he falls off his perch.

So…it’s easy for us all to improve our lives the way George improved his photos.

Start observing today, and plan for tomorrow.


a WOW factor Photo

Do some photographs catch your breath …. so outstanding, you wish it was yours?

 

I saw a performance by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Group in Sydney about 30 years ago…. to this day it remains one of my fondest memories.  Seeing them again is reason enough to visit New York.

 

I began following the dance troop on Facebook a few years ago.   Why ?

 

Their photographer captures their spirit of dance in a away that amazes me ….. it makes visiting Facebook a treat…. every day.

 

Kirven Douthit and Rachael McLaren.  Photo by Andrew Eccles.

Kirven Douthit and Rachael McLaren.
Photo by Andrew Eccles

Give your eyes a treat and visit Andrew Eccle’s site: Click Here

Visit the Alvin Ailey website at:  Click Link Here – Alvin Ailey

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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.


The secret of the ANZAC dawn service

 

Have you ever wondered how the ANZAC day dawn service started?  Did it occur spontaneously on the 1st anniversary of the landing?  Probably not.

So when did it commence as a national tradition, and how?

I’d never thought about it….that is until yesterday …. when I visited the historic mining village of Herberton.

Nestled amongst the rain-forests in the Atherton Tablelands west of Cairns, the village is full of surprises.
possum valley-80

It was no surprise to discover an excellent mining
museum and mine-site tours celebrating the community’s tin and copper mining history….

 

 

….But, these things were surprises!

 

  • a spy camera museum ( the spy equipment is amazing, but it’s just a bait to lure you in – the museum collection across the history of photography is second to none)

    … and

  • the burial site of the man who conducted the first ANZAC day dawn service and first uttered the words

“as the sun rises and goeth down, we will remember them”

              at an ANZAC service.

Canon Arthur Ernest (Padre) White was an Anglican Minister who served with the AIF.  He is credited with instigating the break of dawn service as the sun rose.

When?

The first time, in a small, private requiem mass at St John’s church in Albany in Western Australia on his return in 1918.

After he was appointed the Rector of St John’s church in 1929, he held  a  much larger commemoration as the sun awoke whilst overlooking King George Sound at Albany.

Albany was the last glimpse of Australia, Australian troops saw as they sailed off to war.

At the 1931 dawn service Padre White borrowed the famous line “as the sun rises and goeth down, we will remember them” from Laurence Binyon’s poem ‘For the Fallen’ …….and thus started a legacy to those who died… a legacy we share in growing numbers every year.

A humble man, Canon wished his tombstone to simply read ‘a Priest’ – it does.

"A Priest"

“A Priest”

 

Whether I’m on a pleasant holiday exploring old mining towns or working as a

Wills and Estates lawyer, I often think about the legacies people leave behind.

I wonder if Padre White ever thought how his first dawn service would swell into a national day of reflection and commemoration.

What a tribute to the fallen.

What a “gift” to the whole of Australia.

This ANZAC day I will also think of the legacy of this humble priest.

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Do your debts die with you ?

 

You sometimes find an online gem…. ‘YourLifeChoices’ is one of them.

Check out the article I wrote for this online publication recently on the life cycle of your debts – do they outlive you?

Access article here:  Your Life Choices Article

I INVITE YOUR CONTRIBUTION / COMMENTS

If you have any comments about this blog or tips to add to this blog please do so – your

Accessing life beyond the grave

Life beyond the grave

comments and tips will help all of us in our travels.

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Heading to the horizon

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