Listen to our interview with Wills & Estates Lawyer, by Melissa Tucker.
Last December Rugby League immortal Artie Beetson suffered a fatal heart attack leaving behind not one Will but two, instructing his executor to divide his estate equally between his four sons and two former de facto partners.
The problem is the Wills, both dated and witnessed on June 13, 2000, included minor differences, requiring his executor to apply to the Court for a ruling.
To make matters worse both of the witnesses to the Wills died before Artie’s death and it could not be established which Will was signed first.
When the executor was handed both Wills back in June 2000 he assumed one was a copy of the other and had no further discussions with Artie.
The beneficiaries named under the Wills were also unable to shed any further light on why Artie wrote two Wills on the same day.
While the legal effect of both documents was the same, the minor differences in the wording meant that a court order was needed to apply for probate.
The application was heard in the Brisbane Supreme Court and it was found that they were just different forms of the same will kit that Artie had used. The Court ordered that both wills be proved together as they were basically the same.
While you may not have a billion dollar estate, own multiple mansions, have your own clothing line or be a sporting great , the same basic estate planning rules that apply to celebrities and sporting legends apply to you.
The mistakes they make are generally the same mistakes most Australians make as well. Use of Will kits and failing to consult a lawyer can result in dire outcomes.
Leaving your intent unclear will ultimately leave your loved ones in the dark and they’ll end up spending tens of thousands of dollars that you thought you saved by doing your own Will or not having a Will at all. The Application to the Supreme Court in this matter would have incurred significant legal costs for the estate which ultimately come out of the beneficiaries pockets.
If you don’t have an estate plan or haven’t reviewed it in a couple of years now is the time to take that step forward and take control of how your estate is administered upon your death.
To obtain further advice on your Estate Planning please contact our Department Manager, Lesley Barnes, on direct line (07) 5506 8241 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an appointment.
Listen to our interview with Wills & Estates Lawyer, Melissa Tucker.
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