What happens when you don’t have a valid (and current) Will …

My last blog entry (https://www.weinberglawyers.com.au/single-post/2017/03/03/Keep-your-eye-on-the-prize-and-beware-of-Karma) described the consequences of unchecked sibling rivalry, which often leads to a court fight over a parent’s Will.

A surprise ending to that story was that John (the brother) chose to not leave a valid Will.

What John did leave was a note that provided my name and details as his sole contact person (with no mention of his sister, Jane). However, that fell far short of a Will.

So, with Jane as his only next of kin, and despite his apparent wish to exclude her from his estate, Jane (and not the person named on his final note, namely me) inherited John’s entire estate. This was despite John and Jane having feuded with each other, in the extreme, their entire lives, and spent the last years of John’s life litigating over their deceased father’s estate.

Because I was his lawyer, there would be ethical and potential regulatory problems for me if I sought to benefit from John’s estate. However, even if he named a friend, relative, charity or pet as he named me in his final note, the result would be the same. That would be that Jane, and not the friend, relative, charity or pet, would inherit his estate, to the exclusion of all others.

An informal note is just not a valid Will.

How can you avoid the outcome of the John and Jane story, or even worse, such as regarding child-related issues (see question in the below box)?


Question of the Day - My wife and I want Will to provide for the care and safety of our young children. We have close relatives that we do not want to be the guardians of our children. What can we do?


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