WILLS AND ESTATES
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When you write your will you expect your Estate to be distributed to your beneficiaries. Be aware your will is not worth the paper it is written on. I will explain in the following message.
We are concerned at the present practice of lawyers, hijacking wills once passed by Probate.
The present legislation and Estate Planning system permits lawyers to scour the Probate Office (once Wills become public documents) in search for Wills which either do not distribute the Estate equally or where one beneficiary believes he/she deserves more from the Estate.
Once a claim is lodged with the Court, distribution to all beneficiaries is put on hold until a Court makes a judgement. A claimant has six months in which to lodge a claim.
As the lawyers discuss the claim in mediation, legal fees begin to increment. Even if a Magistrate dismisses the claim, say due to greed by the claimant, all beneficiaries get less than the original Will specified because of “ambulance chasers”
Therefore, what is the point of writing a Will if “ambulance chasers” can override the wishes of the deceased family member?
Even if all beneficiaries receive equal distribution, one beneficiary may still lodge a claim. For example, a beneficiary on drugs, on Centrelink benefits, with a disabled child, estranged from the family and renting may apply to the Court for a greater share than he/she would otherwise receive. The Court will determine whether such a claim will proceed based on the circumstances.
If parents loan a child large sums of money, that money cannot be taken into account when distributing the Estate.
The implications of this practice are as follows:
- · Distribution of the Estate is delayed by any claim.
- · The Court may or may not uphold a claim.
- · All legal and court fees are paid first before distribution.
· Lawyers working on a “no-win-no-fee” basis will push for a resolution during mediation. The wishes of the deceased family member maybe totally ignored.
· Wills are not worth the paper their written on.
· Lawyers fatten their bank accounts from deceased estates.
We have spoken with many people about this process; one to three people we know of, or have a relation in this situation, concur with the sentiment that older parents do not have full control over their Estates.
As members of the older generation, we worked hard to generate a ‘nest egg’ with the view to our Estates being distributed the way we choose, not the way ‘ambulance chasers’ would like the Estate distributed.
If you have a story to tell, please feel free to include it on this site.
The objective is to change the existing Probate Legislation to protect the wishes of the deceased estate.
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