Top Law Guide

What You Need to Know About Preparing a Legal Will

Though it may seem a macabre subject, preparing a legal will is extremely important, not only for your own peace of mind but also for your family and friends. Sitting down and preparing a will is really not something that most of us think about until we reach a certain age where we feel the claws of mortality upon us. Despite the stigma attached to it, having a legal will prepared and filed away means security going forward.

Reflecting Your Intentions

The first thing to understand about wills is that they must be an accurate and true reflection of the wishes of the will writer. This means that the will must be a reflection of how he or she wishes his or her property and estate to be divided up among those left behind. It is even possible for the writer of the will to leave things behind to those outside of immediate family including friends, charities, and other third-party entities.

From the point of view of the living will writer, having a will that reflects exactly what he or she wants represents a certain kind of emotional closure, knowing that things will be looked after once he or she passes. Of course, the problem is that life is not always this easy and it is not uncommon at all for there to be a legal contestation upon the execution of the will.

When a Will Becomes a Problem

Unfortunately, contesting a will in NSW is not an uncommon event. The most common reason that a will is contested is when property or money has been left to an entity outside of the immediate family. It may be that money or property has been left to a charity, a friend, or even an estranged child or former partner. In these cases, immediate family members will often feel angry and cheated out of what they see as their rightful entitlements. If they are eligible to make claims and contest the will, they can seek a legal avenue to do so.

Not everyone can contest a will and it is important in these cases to draw a distinction between immediate family members and third parties outside of this group. In this context, people who are typically eligible to contest a will include:

  • A former partner of the person who has passed away who was legally married to him or her.
  • A child of the deceased from any relationship.
  • The legally married wife or husband of the deceased at the time of his or her passing.
  • A grandchild of the person who has passed.
  • A person who has been financially dependent upon the deceased at any time.

Seeking Legal Balance

Philosophically, the law seeks to implement the true wishes of the writer of the will while allowing for reasonableness and fairness within a legal context. This is certainly not always easy and it is incumbent upon all participants to seek a resolution during the contestation of a will that is reasonable and is as close to reflecting the true wishes of the deceased as possible.