What is a Will?

A Will is the document in which a person details the following:

  • who they wish to appoint as their Executors;
  • who will benefit from their Estate;
  • the powers given to their Executors when administering their Estate; and
  • any wishes they may have regarding burial or cremation.

Can my Will be challenged?

There is legislation that allows certain people to challenge what they receive from a person’s Estate, this is known as an application for further provision or a family provision application.  Not just anyone is able to make this type of claim, they must fall within a list of relationships (mainly close family relationships, for example a spouse or child) (‘eligible person’).  The Court considers a wide range of matters when assessing whether a claim made against an Estate should be allowed, and if so how much should be provided to the person making the claim.

Why should I have a Will?

Given the ability of an ‘eligible person’ to make a claim against an Estate, I am more and frequently being asked, why should I have a Will when people can challenge what I say in it anyway?  My response is as follows: –

  • if you make a Will you make the choice of who will be the Executors of your Estate. This means you can choose the person or people you trust to administer your Estate, and if necessary, handling any claim made against it.
  • You can say in your will who will be the beneficiaries, what each will get and at what age in case of young people.
  • You can even give reasons for your giving decisions if you wish and you can certainly give directions about you wishes for your body after your death.
  • if you don’t have a Will legislation decides who receives your Estate. This may not reflect what you want.
  • Just because there is an ability to challenge a Will does not mean that it will be. Most Estates are administered without these claims arising.
  • It is more costly to administer an Estate where a person does not leave a Will because the Court requires additional information to be provided to it.

If you have further questions or are uncertain about whether you should consider making a Will, please contact us, we are here to help.