Over the last few years there have been major changes to the NSW Workers Compensation Laws which relate to workers who are killed at work.
These changes make it even more crucial that every worker in NSW has a valid Will in place.
Under the old Law, if a worker was killed at work, and they had financial dependants – ie a spouse or school aged children – those dependants would have shared in a lump sum payment of about $330,000.
Under the new Law, as at June 2012, they will share in about $481,950.
Under the old Law, if the worker had no financial dependants, no spouse or school aged children there would have been no payment whatsoever.
However, under the new Law, if the worker has no financial dependants, the $481,950 will be paid to the worker’s estate, and if the worker dies without leaving a Will, the $481,950 will be shared amongst his/her next of kin.
What that means is, by way of example, if a twenty year old man died whilst at work without leaving a Will, his surviving parents would share the $481,950 as his next of kin, and that might be what he would want. However, consider a situation whereby his father abandoned him and his mother when he was a baby, never to return before his death. In this particular situation, the man’s biological father would still get the $240,975!
We have acted for a parent, in circumstances similar to this, where the estranged father is entitled to receive half of the workers compensation pay out, and it is not what the son would have wanted. Had the son made a Will, the chances are he would have gifted his entire estate – $425,000, as the payout then was – to his mother.
There are many other commonly occurring circumstances when a deceased, with an estate of $481,950, might wish they had left a Will.
The consequences are so significant you may wish to pass this information on to family and friends who could be potentially affected.
We hope this information has been helpful. If you have any questions, or would like to enquire about the steps involved in putting a Will in place, please do not hesitate to contact our Wills & Estates Team.