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I am hearing about all these claims against estates – how effective is my Will?

Although claims against Estates get coverage in the media, most Estates are in fact completed on the basis of the wishes of the deceased in accordance with their Will.

It should be remembered the starting point at law is that a person is entitled to leave his or her estate to whoever they choose. A person has freedom to choose their beneficiaries – whether they be family members, other persons or their favourite charity.

Claims against estates under the “family provision” parts of succession law allow a limited group of people to seek provision out of an estate if they were left out or feel greater provision should have been made for them.

In simple terms, these “eligible persons” are spouses, de facto partners, children (including adult children) and grandchildren or members of the household who were dependent upon the deceased. But they must convince the Court why the claim should be entertained.

There is a takeout from this – when a Will is prepared, it is important that the bigger picture be considered. The type of claims we hear about underline that is important to be very careful when finalising a Will.

Proper advice can avoid or at least minimise the risk of claims.

Whether or not these comments give rise for immediate concern, make sure your affairs are in good order and you have obtained appropriate advice.

If you would like further information, please contact a Will lawyer on 9635 7966 or through the website