The Different Types of Probate in South Australia

Many people find probate to be a confusing and intimidating topic. Some deceased estates may not require probate, while others may require a different sort of grant if an executor is not named or a Will cannot be located.

Some brave (or foolhardy) souls attempt a do-it-yourself approach by trying to administer the deceased estate of a loved one themselves. This rarely ends well. You’ll save a lot of time and energy if you seek the counsel of a lawyer with extensive knowledge of probate & deceased estates in Adelaide.

Australian Supreme Court says DIY Wills are a curse

Australian Supreme Court says DIY Wills are a curse

Western Australian Supreme Court Master Craig Sanderson has publically stated in a 2014 judgment that “Homemade Wills are a curse,” and inevitably lead to protracted and expensive legal battles in family disputes involving substantial estates.

Master Sanderson said the legal issue around the proper determination of the deceased’s Will could have been avoided if he had “consulted a lawyer and signed off on a Will that reflected his wishes”.

Master Sanderson warned of the dangers of homemade Wills, saying there was no question that engaging a properly qualified and experienced lawyer to draft a Will was “money well spent”.

“But where, as here, the estate of the deceased is substantial, the Will is opaque and there is no agreement among the beneficiaries, the inevitable result is an expensive legal battle which is unlikely to satisfy everyone.”

This view is supported by Rod Genders, who is a senior Australian lawyer specialising in trusts, Wills and estate planning, accident compensation, probate and deceased estate administration in Adelaide and throughout South Australia. His boutique specialist law firm, which was founded on 1848, is one of the oldest and most respected in Australia.

Top 5 Dangers of Do-It-Yourself Will Kits

Top 5 Dangers of Do-It-Yourself Will Kits in SA

Top 5 Dangers of Do-It-Yourself Will Kits in SA

Creating a Will gives us the peace of mind that comes from knowing that our estate will be distributed according to our wishes. But the desire to avoid the expenses normally associated with Will preparation is tempting some people these days to consider using Do-It-Yourself Will Kits.

At first look, DIY Will kits might seem to be cheaper and save some time and travel involved in having a legal professional prepare a Will, BUT the savings in time and money could be illusory if there are even minor mistakes or unforeseen events that cause the Will to be invalid.

Remember: any mistakes you make will only become apparent after you’re dead, and it’s too late to fix them.

Determining the wishes of the deceased is a legal issue by its very nature, and consequently, if the Will is not properly prepared and executed, it could be invalidated or challenged, sometimes complicating things even worse than if there had been no Will at all.

Wills and Estate Planning in Adelaide: 5 Common Dangers In Using DIY Kits

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Wills and Estate Planning Adelaide: Estate Planning to Show Your Family You Love Them

Estate Planning to Show Your Family You Love Them

How can you show your love for your family even after you are gone? None of us knows what the future holds. My godfather died in his 20’s and he left his young wife with a 3 month old baby to take care of. It doesn’t matter what stage of life you are in, you need to be prepared.

Here are a few practical steps to help you be prepared from a financial and administrative perspective.

1. Create a legal Will and keep it up to date.

Even if you don’t think you have a lot of assets, you need to have a Will because you don’t want the government to dictate what happens to your property after you are gone. It will save your family a lot of time and grief, because getting an estate in order after someone has died without a Will can take a lot of time and money.  You may be surprised by how many possessions you own … Super, life insurance, a car … it all adds up.

It is important to discuss who will care for your children if something should happen to both parents. It is certainly a hard decision and there are many factors to consider.

Don’t risk a DIY Will-kit. They are little more than expensive pieces of stationery, and offer no backup or support. They even say on those kits that they are not intended as a substitute for legal advice!  They are the cause of a growth-area in estate-litigation, because so many people make mistakes with them. The problems will only show up after you’re dead and gone.  Then it’s your family & loved ones who have to wear the cost and all the delay and heartache to try to fix it all afterwards.

Wills and Estate Planning Adelaide: The Dangers of DIY Wills and Estate Planning

The Dangers of DIY Wills and Estate Planning

Some people resist or resent spending money on estate planning, because they think (wrongly) they won’t gain the benefits themselves.

In difficult financial times like these, some folks may be tempted to postpone or minimise what might seem like a non-essential expenditure.

Every week, thousands of television advertisements from insurance companies encourage people to bypass lawyers and create their own Wills, using cheap or free “Will kits”.

The big ugly truth about these kits is that people make a lot of mistakes when they try to create their own Wills and estate planning documents. They have been lulled into a false sense of security. But answering just one question incorrectly or overlooking something such as appointing a guardian for children can lead to major problems down the road.

There are lots of traps for the unwary, and this whole area of law regarding deceased estates contains a hidden minefield which you absolutely want to avoid. And with a bit of education & planning, they can. Otherwise they won’t know the questions to ask, or what to do with the answers.