This is the time I have awaited with some excitement! The start of the Legal Kit Specialists’ blogging.
But what do I, as the instigator, need to do in order to achieve a flying start. Well, let’s get it underway with an explanation of a legal requirement. I won’t be explaining the matter in long, difficult, words that you don’t understand. I might know the words but I don’t use them.. I am not a solicitor and not obliged to use that language.
The law in Australia is claimed to prevent a person who is not a qualified legal practitioner from actually giving legal advice. However, I have not been able, despite many hours researching via Google’ to actually locate any statement to that end. There is legislation in some States of Australia that prevents businesses, or persons, from handling conveyancing work on behalf of others but surely a father can assist his child in the purchase of land for a future home. Conveyancing is the term applied to arranging the official transfer of real estate from one person to another.
In Canada one of the authorities issues a pamphlet which states to the effect that legal advice ’can only be given by specifically trained persons and this applies more to actual representation in court matters. The pamphlet says clearly that information and explanation about forms, processes, requirements etc.is perfectly acceptable by law between members of the public. This is likely to be the intention in Australia.
Legal kit Specialists set out to provide legal information in simple language that can be understood, and to explain requirements in order that the public can handle some of their own legal matters, and obtain the desired result. We have been very successful for over twenty years. We do not make comments if friction between parties occurs. Better to settle the matter by agreement than involving legal representation.
Now to the crazy things. And this is true, although the names have been changed to stop me getting my head kicked in.
A fellow wrote his Will and a couple of years later tried to stop a taxi by standing in front of it. The taxi was full, as was the fellow. The taxi did stop a little further down the road but by then the fellow required an ambulance instead of a taxi. .
The fellow had been quite wealthy, owned a couple of businesses, and had shares in others. Race horse, various debts and bank accounts. It took the executor and the courts a few months to settle things.
The chap had a Rolls and his Will stated that the car was to pass to Helen (which was the name of his wife).Now the chap had been married twice and as fate would have it both wives had their first name of Helen.
The newly widowed wife, in an effort to settle her grief, had moved from the marital home to the north coast’ up around Maryborough’ where her mother lived. She had not informed the executor of her intentions..
Now the first wife, also named Helen, was still living in the same area of the Gold Coast where her marital home had been. The law in Australia allows a married woman who has been divorced to retain her married name and so there were two Helen’s ..... in the picture. The deceased’s Rolls had been housed in a local show-room for safety and when probate was granted one of the salesmen was required to drive the Rolls and deliver the vehicle to Mrs. Helen ...... This car dealer had originally supplied the vehicle to the fellow and still had his original address in their files.
You are probably ahead of me now. That’s right. Their records carried the names and address of the deceased whilst he was living with his first wife so that is where he drove to.
What a lovely surprise for the first wife. Her former husband must still love her. He gives her a Rolls Royce in memory of happier times.
Who do you think finished up with the vehicle!
Obviously the fellow having a fair amount of assets had his Will drawn up through a legal firm. But he did not necessarily provide as much detail as he should have.
The point to remember is that employing a solicitor does not guarantee perfection. When you are going to write your Will think carefully about it over a period. Write it out and think. Better still- if you are writing your own Will and discover a discrepancy later it costs you nothing to complete an entirely new version which corrects any earlier errors. That is if you use the ‘Make Your Own Will kit’ which does not just supply a printed sheet but actually tells how to make future Wills.
INTERESTING AND EDUCATIONAL
This is the appropriate time to tell you that I will start to explain details of succession and how to write your own Will in future blogs. Let’s start with the word.
Try as I might I cannot find a reason why a document leaving or gifting your possessions to someone else is called a Will. Have a look in your dictionary because it certainly is not in mine. They tell you what a Will is but not why it is so called. Let’s look at it the simple way then..
When I die I will give my partner this house, When I die I will give my daughter this car. When I die I will give all my books to the local library.
Now the title is starting to make sense. It denotes an action that is going to take place. Perhaps the document should be termed a ‘promise’ instead of a ‘will’.
In Australia the States have legislation covering ‘succession’ which basically means ‘transfer of ownership’. The laws governing Wills come within this act. The States and Territories, in the main, strangely, have their own versions of exactly how a Will should be written and interpreted. The differences, mostly, are quite small but are there never-the- the-less. If a Will is written by a person living in a particular State then their Will should comply with the rules of that State. This means that if you are using a Will kit try and find one that does explain the differences and provides alternative instructions.
Even if you spend a portion of your wealth having a solicitor draft your Will that same factor is going to occur . Fortunately, the Supreme Courts have the final say and can overrule minor differences as these are likely to be. Fortunately, again, there is agreement between the States and Territories that a Will which is written in conformity with the legislation ruling in the State or territory at the time that the Will was written then that Will is considered acceptable. However, the Court is very likely to apply a charge for this error of compliance.
Many years ago I was personally informed by the department head in one State (which I should not disclose) that reading and approving Wills which were written in compliance with a State other than where they were being submitted for probate was a welcome means of obtaining funds for his department. Not sure if he was joking.
In a country, such as Australia, where there is constant movement of the population between the States it is fortunate that the Courts apply this leniency. So, to put your mind at rest, even if you constantly switch residencies between the States and Territories your Will is going to be legally accepted. As a matter of fact the Supreme Court has the right to accept or reject any Will for a variety of reasons if they consider that the circumstances so justify that decision. And this is why some of the Wills drafted on behalf of renowned people, who certainly would be engaging top, law firms to advise and produce their Will, become court cases. Just like the case in our crazy section.
You should be pleased to know that these things are covered within our Will Kit “Make Your Own Will in Australia”. If you keep reading our blogs you will get all the information in due course but it might be quicker to just purchase one of the kits.
Next issue will cover further details of the Succession Act which govern writing your Will.
Cheers for now