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Where there’s a will, there’s often a dispute

From wine-fuelled political debates over Christmas lunch to overly competitive games of Monopoly, there are many reasons family members can find themselves at loggerheads with one another.  A particularly serious scenario is when a parent passes away and leaves behind an estate that becomes a source of bitter conflict between siblings.

There’s a common misconception that your will represents the incontrovertible ‘final word’ on what is to happen with your estate – ie, your home, possessions, savings and any other assets you
may have – when you’re gone. However, this is not necessarily the case, and a 2016 report by government and the University of Queensland found that where wills are contested, the claimants are generally successful – in fact more than three in four times in the case of partners/ex-partners and children.

The table below shows some of the common grounds for why cases over inheritance are brought before a court, and how they can be avoided.

For better or worse, no will is iron-clad – but there are simple measures you can take to help ensure your wishes are executed exactly as intended when you are gone. Aside from being aware of the common scenarios overleaf and what can be done to decrease their chances of arising, it may be best to consider:

■ Engaging the assistance of a professional.
■ Avoiding DIY will kits or at least seeking assistance when completing one.
■ Revisiting your will at least once every few years, especially if your life circumstances have changed (eg, as a result of marriage or divorce).

Please contact the TNR team if you have any queries on any of the above.

Important: The information contained in this post / article is not advice. Readers should not act solely on the basis of material contained in this post. Items herein are general comments only and do not constitute or convey advice per se. We recommend that our formal advice be sought before acting on anything contained in this post.