Whilst you are often asked about your Will, less common are questions about your parents estate planning arrangements.
Do you know how your parents assets will be distributed following their passing?  It is not a pleasant task dealing with the consequences of parents who didn’t prepare a Will.

In 1998, a lady prepared a Will which gave certain valuable property to her daughter-in-law.
After the Will was made, 2 important (but not entirely surprising) things happened:
(1) from 2000, the lady’s mental health deteriorated & she lost the capacity to change her Will, and
(2) in May 2014, the lady’s son and daughter-in-law separated.

Whilst the lady’s family knew that the Will had to be changed to remove the gift to the now ex-daughter in law, the lady (now aged 81 years) no longer had the capacity to change her Will.  The lady’s husband (55 year’s of marriage!) had to make an application to the Queensland Supreme Court to change the Will.
The ex-daughter in law, as a beneficiary under the Will, was entitled to object to the application… and not surprisingly she did!  She wanted to keep her ex-mother in law’s gift!
To the family’s dismay, the Supreme Court decided that the Will would not be changed and that the ex-daughter in law would remain as a beneficiary under the Will.  The lady’s husband was not happy and lodged an appeal.
Fortunately for the family, but not before enduring considerable stress and expense, the Court of Appeal agreed with the husband and made an Order changing the Will, removing the ex-daughter in law as a beneficiary.
Despite this scenario not being particularly unusual, the stress and expense to this family was considerable. A happy ending, but at a considerable toll to the family.  If the mother had died, the court action would have been too late and the gift would belong to the ex-wife!

Prevention is better than Cure

These expensive legal proceedings could have been avoided had sound estate planning arrangements been implemented. For assistance with your Estate Planning contact Wockner Lawyers.
Preventing a problem from occurring is far superior, both financially & emotionally, than fighting a court case to cure a problem. Imagine the stress and anxiety for the family throughout the initial court hearing, the appeal process, and leading up to the day of the final judgement by the Court of Appeal.
Do not rely solely on your own judgment to determine what the risks are.  Discuss with an estate planning lawyer the scenarios that may occur in your family. For assistance with your Estate Planning contact Wockner Lawyers.
The recurring theme is that people are astonished by other’s behaviour, and could never have imagined that “he or she would do such a thing”.  No-one knows what others are capable of, or what they are prepared to do, until they are in that situation… their rule book goes out the window!
If you are unaware of your parents estate planning arrangements, now is the time to have a discussion with them.

Copyright © 2016 Wockner Lawyers. All Rights Reserved. Contact Wockner Lawyers or phone +61 1300 600 536. This article may not be used without the prior written consent from the author. See below for more details…
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Do you know how your parents assets will be distributed following their passing? For assistance with your Estate Planning and Will contact Wockner Lawyers. Click here to view Our Services.

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