Wills are extremely important documents not only to ensure that your wishes are carried out, but also to ensure that the administration of your estate is as uncomplicated as possible for those you leave behind.
“A will is a legal document which sets out a person’s wishes for the disposal or distribution of their assets after death,” according to Conrad Curry, from The Law Office of Conrad Curry.
“There are strict legislative requirements which must be complied with in order for a will to be valid. Importantly, your will should be in writing. It should be signed and properly witnessed. It should appoint a person/s as executor/s to carry out those wishes on your behalf, and it should also dispose of all of your estate assets.”
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In the absence of a will [known as intestacy] there is a statutory formula which applies to the distribution of your estate assets.
“This may and probably would result in the distribution of your estate in a way that you would not have hoped for,” Mr Curry said.
“In the instance where none of the beneficiaries under the intestacy provisions exist, your estate may go to the state.”
In order to be legally effective, a will must be clear, concise and accurate in properly reflecting a person’s wishes.
“This is an area of specialised and expert knowledge and you simply can’t risk getting it wrong,” Mr Curry said.
“I have seen many gifts under wills fail because of a mistake in the way in which the will or a provision of the will was drafted, on most occasions resulting in costly court proceedings which invariably results in diluting the estate assets and delaying payment to beneficiaries.”
- poorly drafted charitable gifts;
- mis-description of assets (such as shares or real estate) which will, without court orders as to the proper construction of the will, result in the failure of the gift altogether;
- failure to dispose of all of the assets creating an partial intestacy;
- the failure of a gift because the property no longer exists or had been otherwise disposed of.
“Superannuation and life insurance, in the context of will making, are also matters which need to be given careful consideration as well as the position of vulnerable beneficiaries,” Mr Curry said.
“It is important to get proper legal and financial advice to cover all contingencies.”
Mr Curry has practised in the field of Succession Law, both in drafting estate planning documents and litigation surrounding Wills and Family Provision, since 1995.
“I have acted in numerous cases involving issues arising out of poorly drafted wills – including the failure on the part of some lawyers who do not necessarily understand the intricacies of the law, or who do not give advice with respect to will making and the importance it requires,” he said.
“This has given me invaluable experience to ensure that we get the document right and review regularly to ensure your wishes are reflected in one of the most important documents you will make.”
The Law Office of Conrad Curry provides a range of services for the citizens of the Hunter, from succession planning and property transactions to the specialty areas of estate litigation, medical negligence and compensation law.
“We treat every transaction with the highest priority,” Mr Curry said.
“We do not act for institutional clients generally, and we live by the motto ‘Trusted and Effective’.”
For more information, call (02) 4050 0330 or visit www.conradcurrylaw.com.au.