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Wills and Estates - Succession Law

How can Weblegal help?

Weblegal can assist with:

  • drafting of wills
  • probate
  • administration
  • contested wills & estate disputes
  • family provision claims
  • intestacies and mistakes
  • the duties and role of the executor, and
  • advice more generally

While death and taxes may be the only certainties in life, death's advent is uncertain. It is though generally speaking coming for us later. Life expectancy continues to increase.

Australia's life expectancy is ranked among the highest in the world. Australia's male life expectancy at birth ranks fifth, below Iceland, Hong Kong, Japan and Switzerland. Australia's female life expectancy at birth is ranked sixth, below Japan, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Spain and France.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (which the above quote comes from) in 2007 people aged 65 years and over made up 13% of Australia''s population. This proportion is projected to increase to approximately to 25% (1 in 4) in the next 30 or 40 years. It will also mean that more and more people will be living for 20 or 30 years past their retirement. The consequences of this for the nation and for individual Australians obviously presents a challenge. Long living parents means a delay in inherited wealth for their children, it also probably means a more depleted pool of wealth than otherwise would have been the case a generation or two ago as the long living parents will expend more of the savings they have accrued over their lives maintaining their lifestyles through their long retirement.

The children of long living parents will need to make their own provisions and efficiently plan their estate if they are to materially enjoy their own retirements.

Estate planning is increasingly becoming a necessity. A will is integral to a comprehensive estate plan. Controlling your estate while living can be challenging enough, controlling it beyond the grave is more challenging still, as certain people, who in New South Wales satisfy the definition of an "eligible person," will actually have a legal right to a claim against the estate, and if they satisfy the Court that they have not been left adequate financial provision may receive additional legacies from the deceased estate. (Read an article about contesting wills in New South Wales.)

An estate plan (and a will or wills) is especially important where property is owned outside of New South Wales - this is irrespective of whether property is owned overseas or simply within another state or territory within Australia, as the laws governing succession are not yet uniform throughout Australia. And although some states, such as New South Wales and Queensland, have moved towards adopting the provisions coming out of the Uniform Succession Laws project, it does not look like uniformity is coming any time soon. (The report into the Uniform Succession laws can be accessed through clicking on this link: Report 116 (2007) - Uniform Succession Laws: Intestacy.)

If you would like a will drafted or are merely considering making one, then please contact us. We will send you a document (preferably in electronic format) for you to complete which will aid in drafting of the will. This form, together with our articles about wills and succession law in New South Wales (available here), should give you a good appreciation of the issues involved in this area of law and what information you need to provide in order for us to draft a will to reflect your wishes.

Weblegal can assist. Contact us if you would like to arrange a free consultation with no obligations. We can come to you.


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