Are Your Affairs In Order? What Happens If You Die and Don’t Have a Will?

Having a Will is important. Why? To ensure your wishes are carried out and that your loved ones are looked after when you pass. If you die without a Will, your estate will be distributed in accordance with the rules provided by the Succession Act 2006 (NSW).Those rules may be inconsistent with what you want. Further, in the absence of a Will, your loved ones are more likely to fight about your estate and this may result in a costly legal dispute.

On 12 April 2018, we furnished you with the article titled:Are Your Affairs In Order? When Should You Make Or Modify Arrangements To Protect Your Loved Ones.

That article was about amending your Will. This article contains case studies which explain why you should set up a Will in the first place.

Case Study 1 – avoid substantial legal costs and a lengthy heated family dispute

Sherborne Estate (No 2), Re; Vanvalen v Neaves; Gilroy v Neaves (2005) 65 NSWLR 268

In perhaps the most famous example of the damage that a deceased estate dispute can cause to a family, Justice Palmer uttered the following words::

While this litigation is of great importance to the parties themselves, it must nevertheless be borne in mind that this is not a commercial dispute between corporations, involving millions of dollars. It is a family dispute between people of quite modest means: the amounts which all three of the Plaintiffs might reasonably have hoped to obtain by further provision from the deceased’s estate could never have come anywhere near the sum of $600,000 which has been expended in this litigation. What has happened in this case is a dark stain on the administration of justice. One might wonder whether anything has changed since Dickens’ Bleak House.

The Lesson

In most cases the costs of any dispute regarding an estate will be paid out of estate funds. Don’t cause a bitter family dispute that will likely waste hundreds of thousands of dollars from your estate on legal costs when your hard earned money should have been received by your loved ones. Instead, have a Will prepared by an experienced professional.

Gavin Parsons and Associates can assist you with any questions you may have regarding your Estate Planning. Please contact us today on (02) 9262 4471.


Date posted: 2018-05-16