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A current and valid Will is an important document which contains your final written instructions as to significant issues on your death. A well drafted Will provides for:

  • The Distribution of your Assets – including real property (i.e. land), personal chattels (e.g. jewellery, heirlooms etc) and other assets (e.g. superannuation funds, shares etc).
  • Guardians - appointment of guardians for children under 18 years old.
  • Special Gifts or Legacies - you wish to go to other beneficiaries e.g. a favourite charity.
  • Funeral Requirements – clear instructions about your wishes for 'Do not Resuscitate' and in what circumstances, your funeral instructions and any organ donation.
  • Liabilities - such as mortgages and debts owing to family and friends.

Our highly experienced team at Turner Hopkins will listen to your wishes and guide you through any issues. Turner Hopkins encourages its client to consider family dynamics and ensure that all members of the family are considered when making a new Will or updating their Will.

While we can take instructions by way of email, if the situation is complicated we prefer to sit down with our clients and discuss their wishes in person. A Will which has been carefully thought out may prevent potential family disagreements and reduce the risk of claims being made against your estate and ultimately your wishes.

A badly drafted Will can cause problems and lead to family disputes. Likewise, it is important to have a valid Will which complies with the legalise of the Will Act 2007. Unfortunately, even if you have made a Will it may be held to be invalid if:

  • the provisions are ambiguous or uncertain
  • the Will is signed incorrectly
  • the Will is witnessed incorrectly (e.g. two witnesses) or not witnessed at all.

Turner Hopkins will ensure that your Will is valid. Turner Hopkins can also act as the Executor of your estate when the time comes - to negate any potential legal disputes which may arise if a non professional Executor and/or Trustees unknowingly breach their legal duties.

It is important to note that a Will may be also challenged on the basis of the following legislation:

  • Property Relationship Act – where an individual has been in a relationship for at least 3 years (i.e. marriage, civil union and de facto) they are entitled to one half of the 'relationship property' in terms of the Property Relationship Act. However, it is possible to contact out of the Act.
  • Family Protection Act – where a person dies and does not adequately provide for their close family members (e.g. children and spouse) a claim can be made under the Family Protection Act and a portion of the estate may be vested in the claimant(s) by virtue of a court order.
  • Law Reform Testamentary Promises Act – where a person promises someone that they will receive a bequest under their Will in consideration of them performing services (e.g. domestic duties) they can make a claim under this Act if the Will does not provide for them.

Accordingly, it is vital to seek good legal advice in preparing a Will if you want your wishes to be carried. At Turner Hopkins we encourage our clients to review their Wills every few years and we provide our clients with free regular updates as to any legal development which may require them to reconsider the provisions of their Wills.

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FAQ’s

  • How can a Will be challenged?

    It is important to note that a Will may be challenged on the basis of the following:

    • Property Relationship Act – where an individual has been in a relationship for at least 3 years (i.e. marriage, civil union and de facto) they are entitled to one half of the 'relationship property' in terms of the Property Relationship Act. However, it is possible to contact out of the Act.
    • Family Protection Act – where a person dies and does not adequately provide for their close family members (e.g. children and spouse) a claim can be made under the Family Protection Act and a portion of the estate may be vested in the claimant(s) by virtue of a court order.
    • Law Reform Testamentary Promises Act – where a person promises someone that they will receive a bequest under their Will in consideration of them performing services (e.g. domestic duties) they can make a claim under this Act if the Will does not provide for them.
  • How do I contest a Will and what is the process?

    When a person creates their Will they have moral and legal obligations to make adequate provision for certain classes of people such as spouses and children. If you believe that you have not been adequately provided for under a Will an application to the Family Court under the Family Protection Act will be necessary. This is a complex process involving the preparation of a number of documents. Similarly, an application to the Court can be made where you have been promised property under somebody's Will but have been left out of the Will.

  • When should I update my Will?

    You should review your Will every five years or in the event of a major change in your personal and family circumstances.

  • What is a Living Will?

    This document expresses your wishes in regard to medical care, medication and resuscitation for when you are unable to communicate your wishes. It is written in advance and important for the terminally ill to have in place. If you are unlikely to recover, it will generally allow for pain relief but nothing more to prolong your life.

Recent Reviews...

“John is very easy to talk to, he never makes you feel dumb, and never makes you feel like you are wasting his time for asking questions. He explains everything very clearly, every time. John's support staff are also very efficient and so easy to deal with. No detail is missed when dealing with them. My husband and I are fans of them all :)” ~ Jess
“I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to John Stirling and Kathryn Wynd for their patience and understanding. We are so honored to have John and Kathryn looking after us. Whenever someone asks if I know of legal firm, I always say Turner Hopkins.” ~ Manaia
“I can't speak highly enough of Jenny. She got everything done in a timely manner and when my ex-husband threw a spanner in the works at the eleventh hour she got the required documentation to his lawyers and settlement back on track.” ~ Tracey