Over the years, when conducting estate planning, I have met with lots of clients with problematic families. Sometimes there are lengthy periods of estrangement, children with substance abuse problems and quite frankly, sometimes they just don’t like them.
There however seems to be a myth that has developed as I frequently get told when taking instructions to draft a Will “I will give them $50 so they can’t contest my Will”.
I have no idea who came up with this and why they thought it was brilliant idea to avoid a Contesting a Will from someone, but unfortunately, the notion is just plain wrong.
The laws surrounding the contesting of a Will are clear – it is not about what dollar figure a beneficiary has been left in a Will but about what is considered “adequate provision” of an “entitled” person for their ”maintenance, support and advancement”.
A whole range of matters are taken into consideration to determine what is “adequate provision” such as:
- The size of the estate – how much is there?
- The situation of beneficiaries named in the Will. Do they have need or do they have health issues, financial troubles and what is their age?
- Your situation – what is your age, are you unwell, unemployed or in a difficult financial situation?
- What is your future need?
- Any contributions you may have made to build up the estate.
- Has there been a history of financial support and to what extent?
- What was your relationship with the deceased like?
In the circumstances, it is very important that you take professional advice when completing your estate plan and when drafting your Will as there are various mechanisms that can be put in place before your die to limit the successfulness of someone contesting your Will.
Shine Lawyers have legal experts who can assist you to make a Will that ensures that your final wishes are honoured. Whether you're in the process of making or updating your Will or even looking to contest a Will, you can contact our Wills and Estates team to help make this difficult and stressful time for your loved ones a little easier.
Written by Tracey Ryan. Last modified: December 3, 2019.