Has a friend or loved one named you in his or her Will as executor of their deceased estate? If so, you may be confused about your responsibilities and fear that you are not up to the task.
You may be overwhelmed, but the Adelaide probate and estate administration lawyers at Genders & Partners are here to put your mind at ease about your role as an estate executor.
These are some of your main responsibilities when you are named the executor of a deceased estate:
Locate the Will: Hopefully the original Will is often located at the lawyer’s office, but it could actually be anywhere, including among the deceased’s important papers. When you find the original Will, you should take great care not to alter it in any way.
The term “blended family” refers to a cohabitation relationship in which one or both partners have children from previous relationships. People are often unaware, particularly in cases of unmarried couples and same-sex couples, about what they are legally entitled to when their partners die.
Having children from various relationships just adds to the confusion and often results in unintended consequences —even ex-spouses in some cases making claims against the estate. That is why you need the estate planning assistance of our seasoned estate planning team at the oldest law firm in South Australia.
At Genders & Partners, we will carefully study your family dynamics and help you work out a plan for the distribution of your estate that gives you peace of mind.
How many horror stories have you heard about farming families getting torn apart when the farm-owner dies? In my work as a lawyer specialising in estate planning and probate, I’ve heard quite a few.
They often have a common theme – where a relative (typically a younger son) worked for low wages on the family farm for years, with the expectation that the property would be passed on to them after the owner’s death.
There is a sense of expectation & entitlement – of having earned their inheritance – often fuelled by a lack of discussion or planning by the old owner. Unfortunately, this scenario frequently creates significant problems within the family, especially if there is more than one child wishing to benefit from the farm. Often the farmland and the business it supports are the major assets of the deceased estate. It can be difficult enough to generate a decent income from the whole – breaking up the farm to give every child a share may mean that the family farming business cannot continue to be viable.
A 2013 report from Alzheimer’s Disease International warns that the number of older people needing care globally is set to nearly treble by 2050 from 101 million currently to 277 million.
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia or senility. Symptoms include loss of memory, mood changes, and problems with communicating and reasoning.
The report reveals that as the world population ages, the traditional system of informal care by family, friends and the community will need much greater support.
This means that increasing numbers of people aged 60 or over will require long-term care. This will put huge pressure on families, both emotionally and financially. Carers often have to give up work to look after elderly relatives.
This epidemic of dementia will have specific legal consequences for patients and the people caring for them. In particular, their loss of mental capacity to make decisions in their own best interests, creates a need to put in place an appropriate system of delegated authority.
Death and taxes (and illness) may be unavoidable … but they don’t have to ruin your family or your business. Make the effort to protect the people you really care about. Here are some lessons from famous people who made some BIG mistakes in their Wills and estate planning.
Celebrity: Allan Scott
Mistake: Not Managing Family Expectations in Will
In a Supreme Court claim in South Australia, two of Mt Gambier trucking magnate Allan Scott’s daughters settled claims against their father’s estate for more than $12 million each, more than triple what each had been left in Mr Scott’s Will, which he had signed while he was ill in the weeks before his death. The millionaire businessman’s widow also has made a claim against her husband’s estate, yet to be resolved. In his Will, Mr Scott had left the bulk of his $600 million estate to two favoured children.
The documents in your estate plan are excellent tools, and like the tools in your shed, they need to be kept sharp to maximise their effectiveness.
Preventative Maintenance is essential. It’s the same for most important things in life.
Take your car for example. If you are doing what you should, you change your car’s oil every year or 10,000 kms.
You invest in maintenance and preventative care throughout the life of your vehicle, to keep it reliable and running well.
The presents have gone from beneath the tree, the over-full rubbish bin has been emptied and the last of the ham and turkey has finally disappeared from the fridge.
Now is the time when we start to reflect upon those New Year Resolutions we traditionally make early each year.