Much has changed in Australia over the years. In 1975, Australia’s population was 13.7 million and 2018, we passed 25 million.

In 1975 the medium Sydney house price was $28,000.00 and in 2018 it is $815,000.00.

In 2017 Australians held $2.3trillion in Superannuation Funds.

Australians are now wealthier than they have ever been. This means that when one of us dies, the property that we can pass on to others is of a considerable value and what we do with our assets and who benefits from them has become increasingly important.

The way we hold assets, also needs to be considered when making a Will. Unless you have completed a Binding Death Benefit Nomination, in accordance with the Rules of the Superannuation Fund, it will pass according to the decision of the Trustee of the Fund.

Life Insurance that we obtain will pass according to the named beneficiary of that Life Insurance and not according to your Will. Should you hold assets in a Company or a Family Trust, that also will not necessarily pass in accordance with your Will.

Because of these factors, it is becoming increasingly necessary to plan for our future and for how we are to care for our families and provide for our families and loved ones into the future. Increasingly in our litigious society, we are seeing people challenge how their family members have made provision for them in their Wills and in their Estates.

Commonly a challenge can be made under the Succession Act 2006 where a child who is eligible can contest a parent’s estate on the basis that they have not be adequately provided for. However, a Will can also be contested on the basis that at the time the Will was made the Willmaker lacked capacity. It is important when making a Will to understand that it is not just reading a document and signing it before two persons present at the same time that makes a valid Will.

It is important that a person making a Will, not only has the necessary capacity but also is able to understand the terms of the Will and how that Will operates regarding their assets and the persons who are to inherit them.

There is a quote which explains the situation better than most: “I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you”.

The job of the solicitor in taking instructions and preparing a Will is to ensure that the Will makes clear what is to happen with a Willmaker’s assets, to ensure that the Willmaker understands what assets they can leave, how their Will operates in regard to their assets and how those assets are to be divided between the beneficiaries.

It can be seen from this, that time needs to be taken in regard to advising, preparing and guiding a Willmaker through the process of considering what they should do with their assets and how they provide for their beneficiaries.

If is done properly, a Will on the death of the Willmaker will ensure that the beneficiaries receive that which they are meant to. If it is not done properly, then there can be ongoing difficulties, costs and problems that are left by a Willmaker for their Executor. This usually results in family disagreements and creates stress in family relationships.

We at Turnbull Hill Lawyers seek to ensure that our clients, their families and beneficiaries receive what our Willmaker clients wish them to.

The cost of having a carefully prepared Will done through Turnbull Hill saves the beneficiaries much greater costs, removes stress and family arguments that frequently occasion the passing of a loved family member or benefactor.

Should you care to entrust us at Turnbull Hill Lawyers in assisting you in the preparation and management of your Estate Planning, please contact our Wills & Estates Team headed by Warwick Gilbertson and Rani Gandha.

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