Are you sitting on the fence when it comes to drafting your last will and testament? You may think that your estate is straightforward and that distribution should be a simple and relatively obvious task. However, you should never take anything for granted, as complications may well arise when you're not around to provide evidence, and this could definitely temper the outcome. Why is there a risk to inaction?
State Your Intentions
When you create a formal will, you can eliminate a lot of potential confusion simply by committing your thoughts and details to paper. You may well have talked with some of your closest relatives and told them about your plans, but if there is no formal document to back this up, then this can lead to a challenge. You may not think that your estate is particularly valuable, but others may, and if they feel that they have a right to some of it following your death, legal issues could follow.
Problems with Informality
Further complications can arise if you were to discuss any matters related to your estate within an informal document—of any kind. In the past, something as simple as a text message has been upheld in court as valid evidence of intent, and in some cases, this could be the deciding document if you had not created a "proper" will.
In one particularly high-profile case which tragically involved suicide, the individual had left a text message on their phone just prior to committing the act. This message was quite detailed, and even though it had not been sent to anyone, it was considered by the court to be a valid document according to legal interpretation. While one party argued that the individual was effectively intestate and that their possessions should pass to the nearest living relative, another party argued against that and cited the content of the text message.
The moral is that you should never assume anything and should always create a valid and binding will document, which you should lodge with your solicitor. If any confusion were to arise following your demise, this document would be paramount and other messages of any kind would be dismissed.
Communicate Your Wishes
This is the age of communication, where people have so many different ways to express themselves and to create documentary evidence through social media, SMS message and so on. Contact a wills and estates lawyer to learn more.Share
15 August 2018
Hello, my name is Sandra. I live with my two children in Eastern Australia. I have recently come through a very difficult divorce. My ex-partner used to drink too much and he wasn't a very good husband or father. The final straw was when I discovered he was having an affair. I filed for divorce the same day. I knew that getting divorced would be difficult but I didn't realise just how difficult. My husband did all he could to make it hard for me and the kids. Thankfully, I found a fantastic family lawyer who helped me through the entire process. I won custody of the kids and my husband has been asked to pay child support. I decided to start this blog to help others who are going through a divorce.