An Executor is the designated person appointed by the Will-maker to carry out the Will-maker’s directions and wishes. 1.    Duties of Executors The Executor is responsible for ensuring that the most recent current last Will and Testament of the deceased is located, a Grant of Probate is obtained if the circumstances require such a step to be taken, all assets are accounted for and are secured, all debts and liabilities

Estate planning can be complex in certain circumstances such as when the Will-maker has remarried and there is a blended family dynamic, there is perhaps some family disharmony, or one of the beneficiaries suffers from a disability.  Professional estate planning can help to reduce costs to the estate after the death of the Will-maker.  Failure to obtain proper advice can result in issues surrounding the construction of the Will, or

The definition of a ‘spouse’ differs according to each superannuation fund’s trust deed.  The trust deed is the document which governs the exercise of the superannuation trustees’ discretion.  Some trust deeds confirm that ‘spouse’ has the meaning given to it in section 10 of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (Cth) (SIS Act), but others do not. Section 10 of the SIS Act defines the “spouse” of a person as:

A legal practitioner must follow a client’s lawful, proper and competent instructions.  When drafting documents, significant care must be taken by solicitors to ensure the documents prepared for their clients accurately reflect their client’s instructions and wishes. What happens if, under a Will, the instructions given by the Will maker are found on his or her death, not to have reflected the instructions provided to the solicitor? Section 50 of

As a matter of law an entitlement under a superannuation fund (for example, death benefits or life insurance) does not form part of a deceased estate.  However, superannuation trustees may exercise their discretion to pay a deceased’s superannuation death benefits to an estate. Recent Supreme Court decisions in WA have clarified in what circumstances and, perhaps more importantly, at what time an applicant in WA may apply personally for payment

Superannuation Death Benefits: Making a Claim  Superannuation is a system where money is placed in a fund to provide for a person’s retirement. What is a Death Payment and Who can make a Claim? A death payment can consist of the deceased member’s superannuation balance (less any charges and taxes) plus any death cover that they may have had. The Superannuation Industry Supervision Act 1993 (Cth) (SIS Act) provides that

CHANGING CIRCUMSTANCES – WILLS What happens if, under a Will, a Will maker “gifts” his or her “principal place of residence” at death to someone but then, before the Will maker dies, the Will maker moves into a nursing home and doesn’t change the Will to reflect the new living arrangements?  Does the gift still stand? These are the questions the Supreme Court had to consider, on appeal, in the

A RISE IN ELDER ABUSE: A SIGNIFICANT PROBLEM Recent statistics released by Advocare have revealed that there has been a rise in elder abuse.  In the past two months alone, Advocare has received more than 200 calls for help which is double the number of calls received in the same period last year.  Almost one third of those calls concerned financial elder abuse. Abuse by Adult Children: One Recent Example

DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE A CLAIM UNDER THE FAMILY PROVISION ACT? If you are considering challenging a Will, it is important to know that there is a time limitation for bringing a claim contained in the Family Provision Act 1972 (WA) (the Act). Under section 7(2)(a) of the Act, an application can be made within 6 months from the date on which the Supreme Court issues a Grant of

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Mar 2018

Probate Caveats

A Grant of Probate represents confirmation from the Supreme Court that a Will of a deceased person is the last valid Will of that person.  A Probate caveat may prevent a Grant being issued.  A recent decision in the Supreme Court of Western Australia (Richardson v Devine ¹ (Richardson case)) has provided valuable guidance as to the procedures to follow in WA in respect of Probate caveats. A Probate caveat is a written