2020 was a year in which Australians felt afraid; afraid of losing their jobs, afraid of losing their loves ones, and afraid of losing their lives. The threat of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted many to “panic plan” for the future by writing and executing their wills. However, in hurriedly creating these vital legal documents, a number of Australians are having their wills found invalid.
A will can be found invalid for a number of reasons. For example, a court will not accept the will as a valid document if it was not witnessed, or it is unclear whether the will-maker (i.e., testator) had ‘testament capacity.’
There are significant ramifications of dying with a will that does not meet relevant statutory requirements. If the will is found invalid, the testator will be classified as dying ‘intestate.’ This means that their assets will be distributed according to the intestacy laws within the relevant state or territory. This could ultimately leave out key recipients of the will and require the payment of significant fees and taxes.
Such a situation can be easily avoided by conducting a regular review of your will and estate with the help of a lawyer. Not only will a review highlight potential tax saving opportunities and ensure legal validity, but it will ensure your family will be protected just as you planned.
If you are struggling with writing your will or are worried that your current will is not legally binding, please feel free to contact us on 02 8917 8700.