We recommend the following tips to reduce the risk of a will dispute: Ensure it’s professionally drafted, updated with life changes, properly witnessed, and clearly justifies asset distribution. Discussing its contents with potential beneficiaries can also help prevent misunderstandings.
6 Things you should do to stop someone contesting a Will in NSW
Ensuring the validity and acceptance of a will is very important in estate planning. A contested will can lead to prolonged legal disputes, causing emotional and financial strain on all parties involved. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what you can do to avoid a will dispute.
1. Professional Drafting:
Engage an experienced solicitor specialising in wills and estates. A correctly drafted will, adhering to all legal requirements, is your primary safeguard against potential challenges.
2. Regular Updates:
It is paramount to review and update your will in accordance with significant life events or asset changes. This ensures the document remains relevant and reflective of your current wishes.
3. Proper Execution:
For a will to be legally enforceable in NSW, it needs to be signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses, neither of whom can be beneficiaries. This is a strict requirement that must be meticulously observed.
4. Clear Documentation:
Often, wills are contested on grounds of the testator’s testamentary capacity. It’s advisable to maintain clear records, and if necessary, obtain a medical professional’s statement at the time of the will’s creation, verifying the testator’s mental competency.
The solicitor who drafted the will can make an assessment of the testator’s capacity. The test for capacity is – does the testator understand the nature and effect of the will at the time the will is being made (not hours or days before or after).
5. Reasoning for Distribution:
If certain allocations in the will diverge from what might be conventionally expected, including a statement that explains the reasoning behind such decisions can be valuable.
6. Addressing Family Provisions:
NSW law provides scope for certain individuals, such as spouses or dependents, to challenge a will if they believe they haven’t received adequate provision. It is vital to be cognizant of the Family Provision claims when drafting your will.
While it’s impossible to wholly eliminate the potential for a will contest, the steps detailed above can substantially mitigate the risk. For tailored advice and expert assistance in drafting and maintaining your will in NSW, please consider consulting with Northern Beaches Lawyers. Contact us here.