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Blogging - Kits for Conveyancing, Wills for Writing, Processing Probate, Facts About Funerals, Recording and Remembering Passwords, Codes and Everything 

Information about the above clearly explained with a touch of humour.
Laws which govern our life are often complex. Why are they written in language that the general population has difficulty in understanding. 
Simplified English, which is the common language used in Australia, surely has enough words to describe the ownership of a house to be transferred from one owner to another.  
Will and Testament! Here is another example of a straight forward, regular and necessary situation being confused by words from other countries and and ancient times. Why is it necessary to execute a document when it is much easier to simply sign your name?
Probate is another area where simple language could be welcome.
This blog will open your eyes and your mind to the ideas of handling simple legal matters your-self.

If you have visited this page before scroll down and you will find new material.

  
          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. Incidentally, conveyancing is the term applied to arranging the official transfer of real estate from one person to another. We do not intend to give advice on court actions but to explain the procedures and the forms which are used.

Follow our blog and your conveyancing - writing a Will - and attending to probate etc. will seem much easier to do.

 -          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 in supplying legal kits to the public.. We do not make comments if friction between parties occurs. Better to settle the matter by agreement than involving legal representation.

          First of all a confession! I have to admit that although talking and writing of legal matters I am not a solicitor. There - my secret is out! Actually I have never been a solicitor. You only have to read one of my kits or, if you ever met me, listen to me speak and you can tell straight away that I have never even been to law school. How can you tell - what is the give-away? well to start with you can probably understand what I am saying. You can also, in all probability,understand the words that I use and what I mean.

          Now why is this? How is it that two people can speak or write of the same thing and yet use different language whilst both coming from a British background.   This does not only occur within the field of law. There are a few other fields of expertise where written or spoken instruction passes high over the head of the uninitiated. Just listen to the medical g.p. tell you what your problem is. The first problem is that you do not understand him. The Latin and the Greek language .have the body parts completely under their control. Why they are not able to say stomach instead of ventriculus or gaster I have no idea. To digress for a moment just consider why the English language harbours 'double talk'.

          It was all fouled up by William the Conqueror.in 1066. Though of uncertain heritage he was born in France. He ruled England till his death but never mastered the English language. To strengthen his position in England he installed a number of his reliable followers into positions of authority. They also spoke only French and so a completely new language was introduced into England. It became a different level of society and standard of living – the rulers enjoying the spoils of victory and the poor old Brits doing the back breaking field work and building castles for the conquerors. In due course over the centuries the two languages moved a little closer together but the descendants of the rulers would still use a number of French based expressions which to this day remain an indication of higher social standing.

          My own involvement with law documents started in around 1964 when the business of which I was a director introduced a range of law forms designed by a solicitor who was one of the other directors in the company. That was around fifty six years ago. In 1997 my own company ‘Law Stationer –Fred Sparrow Pty Ltd.’ was established and absorbed the law stationary business in Queensland to become the sole supplier of law forms in Queensland. A couple of years later I also established ‘Legal Kit Specialists’ as a supplier of   kits which enable the public in Queensland to handle a number of common legal matters without assistance from a solicitor.

          Right! Now you know a little about me and the intentions of this BLOG so lets get started. We will be covering various matters of public interest and explaining them more clearly.

          So now a little information about making a Will.Not the first thing you do but one of the things that should be done eventually.  Every adult should have made a Will but it is reckoned that only about 40% of the adult population actually do so. Why? Let me explain!

          There is a’ Will’, and there is a ‘Testament’, and there is a ‘Will and Testament’. Which one should you make?

          Many matters in law go back numerous centuries. So far that it is difficult to know or even learn what it is all about. What is more, because the matters to which they refer apply, probably, to every country on the globe, it is not easy to come up with just one answer. A common thought, though, is that testaments referred to real estate property whilst Wills referred to personal effects. So! Your home came under testaments whilst your bed and chair were listed within your Will. Fortunately it is now accepted in Australia and, likely, most first world countries that a Will can list and dispose of all matters subject to ownership. Books, clothing, car, house, vacant pastures, and even ownership of rights. Testament is still sometimes included in the heading but has little value. So ! These days we are just writing Wills.

          If you write a screen play, turn it into a major, award winning movie and then do something silly like losing your memory or dying, the benefits of ownership remain your property and the benefits which they bring can be passed to a person or an establishment which you name in your Will. Remember, William Shakespeare’s plays are still William Shakespeare’s plays. Although the benefits have, no doubt, been sold off to other people long ago.

          A Will is considered to be a desire or instruction of how the possessions of a person should be treated once that person has died. To make sure that the instructions are carried out the Government legislates certain requirements, this is an understanding of the requirements. A soliicitor may well argue with some of my details. That's o k.! They like to argue with each other.

          Consider now that if you are going to write a Will every body wants you to commence with “This is the last Will and Testament of ....”. Now – how are you supposed to know if the Will you are just about to write is indeed going to be the last Will and Testament that you every write. If you should die between the time that you write this current Will and before you have time to write a new Will then indeed it is you last Will and testament that we are speakinjg about. BUT ! If tomorrow you write a new Will and call it your last will and testament and then you die - well that one is your last Will. It goes by the date at the top of your Will and it allows whichever has the most recent date truly shows your intentions at the time of your death. Most people write three, four or even more wills during their life time. if a host of previous Wills turn up after my death it is only the most recent which is judged to truly reflect my intentions at time of death. The others have no legitimate value and will be ignored.

LEGAL and LAUGHS

 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. .

          He 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. 

          His current wife, at the time he tried to catch a cab had, in an effort to settle her grief,  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.

Wills, why and how.

          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 thesaurus 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 could be termed a ‘promise’ instead of a ‘will’.

          In Australia the States have legislation covering ‘succession’ which basically means ‘transfer of ownership to a different person’. The laws governing Wills come within this act. The States and Territories, in the main, 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-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 appropriate 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 is considered acceptable in other States.  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 governs writing your Will. 

March Material for BLOG  Why do we need a Will?

Well! Over the course of life most people gain assets. Money in the bank, a house or unit, shares in a company, mobile phone, furniture. When they pass away they make a decision to pass these assets to a partner, sibling, child or friend. Unless some person has a written list of all belongings and to whom they are to be transferred how are their wishes going to carried out? This is the purpose of the Will. Now we just need somebody who can make sure that the things go to the person whom it was intended them to go to. That person is the executor.

The first thing we do in writing a Will is actually appoint somebody else to do all the work. We appoint the ‘executor’ which sounds a little dangerous until we look closely into it. In this case it is not the person whom we must fear but the person to whom we are trusting the tasks of carrying out the wishes and requests that we write into the Will. After all, when our Will comes to be used we certainly are not going to be there.

Now, the Will has not been written yet but when it has been thought about, written, signed and witnessed a man becomes the testator whilst the woman becomes a testatrix. Both change from 'intestate' which means 'having no Will', to 'testate' which means 'they have made a Will'.

A solicitor may argue that it has to be a valid Will, one that is in line with all the legalities, but I argue that if it is not valid then it is not a Will.

The word ‘executor’ does not mean the person who chops off the head or opens the trap - door. It was only officially connected punishment by death by Government regulation in around 1868. The words ‘executor’, ‘execution’, and ‘executive’, have more implication in the matter of carrying-out an action or a duty than ending some-ones life. The executor in the Will is the person or authority chosen by the person writing the ‘Will’ to actually carry-out the actions required in arranging for the laying to rest of the deceased and the various wishes expressed for the possessions of the now deceased.

Almost the same word is ‘execute’ and this refers to the signing of a document to commence an action. Words used in legal documents sometimes have shades of slightly different meanings to how we use them in every-day conversation.

 

Executors and Personal Representatives. STILL TO COME

Cheers for now 

Fred Sparrow

New material for April