Writing a will can be a challenging and emotional experience, and there are often may parties that are affected by the decisions you make in your will. One such example of this is the story of Anita and Ellen.
Anita and her sister Ellen came to our office to seek guidance in preparing Anita’s will.
Whilst in many instances, the presence of a support person is helpful, certain events raise concern because it appeared in this particular situation that Anita seemed swayed and pressured by her sister Ellen. We tried seeking instructions from the Anita on her own, but as hard we tried, Ellen would not leave her side.
To avoid a family conflict, we advised both Anita and Ellen that under the law (Succession Act 2006 NSW), a beneficial disposition in a will, whether in a gift or otherwise, becomes void if the person receiving that gift is present or is a witness to the will when it is made.
It was only then that Ellen stepped back and allowed us to speak in private with Anita. During this discussion, the team discovered that Anita did not want to leave her sister Ellen anything in her will, as she had three children of her own, and preferred to leave her assets to them instead.
Anita had a sizeable estate, and we were concerned that there might be future claims to dispute the will. To minimise future claims, we advised her that we should do a detailed affidavit for her and leave it on the record to explain the reasons for her decisions under the will.
This is a perfect example of ensuring will drafting is done right from the start as to minimise any future conflicts, will disputes or family provision claims that can really exhaust the assets of the estate and leave those who are rightfully entitled with nothing. That’s why it’s crucial that when preparing you will you speak to the team of experienced Lawyers at One Law Group.