It is important that you plan and think about your Estate before it is too late. We recently spoke to a client whose grandmother had made a verbal agreement with her three beneficiaries to split her house three ways. They were happy to honour this agreement, but she never updated her Will. Her Will provided that the property went to one of them. One of the parties wants to purchase the shares off the other two, which was also something that the beneficiaries and the grandmother anticipated might happen. That beneficiary will need to pay stamp duty on the entire price of the property.
If the Will had been amended so that it went to the three of them, then they would only be paying stamp duty on 2/3 of the value of the property. If there was an option in the Will, they may not have had to pay stamp duty at all.
We have also had a run of matters recently where the person died intestate, that is without a Will. While the law dictates who inherits the property the cost, legal work and delays caused to the estate have been substantial. In one matter, there were minor (under 18 years of age) children, and so a tutor had to be appointed by the Court for the child to agree that their mother should inherit the entire Estate. This is what would happen under intestacy laws in that case regardless of what the child wanted, unless the child commenced family provision
proceedings against their mother.
In another matter there was an estranged family member who needed to be served with notice of the application for letters of administration. The delays caused by locating that family member were substantial.
In both of these cases if there was a Will, the Executor could have simply applied for Probate and avoided these delays and costs.
If you would like to make a Will, or update an existing will, please speak with Bruce Coode or Jacinta Watkins about your options