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Divorce Knowledgebase

WILLS / TRUSTS / PROBATE PRACTICE

When a person passes on, his/her assets need to be dealt with and distributed amongst his/her beneficiaries, who may be family members, whether immediate or remote and/or non-related individuals. The  manner in which the assets will be dealt with will depend on whether that individual made a Will or not.

A Will is a formal document that sets out the wishes of the person making the Will [called the Testator if a male or Testatrix, if a female]. Within the limits of the law, the Testator/Testatrix is at liberty to decide how his/her assets are to be distributed upon passing.

This is to be compared to the situation where a person does not make a Will. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the case that the assets of such a person goes to the government if that person passes on without having made a will. In such a situation, the distribution of assets is governed by the Intestate Succession Act which provides certain rules as to how the assets are to be distributed, depending on the deceased person’s family circumstances. For example, if the deceased is married with children,  the law prescribes that half of his assets are to be given to his surviving spouse and the remainder to be distributed equally amongst the children. This is just one example and there are other rules of distribution which any of our lawyers would be all too happy to walk you through.

The crafting of a Will is a specialist task requiring precision of language and clarity in the overall structure of the document. There are also precise rules governing the form of the Will and who can be present as witnesses at the time that the Testator/Testatrix signs the Will. It is imperative that you have the peace of mind knowing that your Will has been prepared in a manner that complies with the various rules and that the document will be valid upon passing. For these reasons and more, a lawyer should be consulted if you intend to write a Will.

The passing of a loved one is always a difficult period in one’s life and when comfort is found and the passing accepted as a fact of life, life has to move one. If the deceased loved one left any assets behind, it would become necessary to distribute the assets and depending on whether the deceased made a will or passed on without making one, as long as there are assets in the deceased’s name, distribution has to take place. This would require the appointment of certain individuals called administrators or executors, who step in the shoes of the deceased and distribute his/her assets. Such a person/persons have to be formally appointed by the Court by way of documents called ‘Grant of Letters of Representation’, if the deceased did not make a Will or, ‘Grant of  Probate’, if a Will was made.

Whatever the circumstances may be, we can assist you. Call us at 6532 9980.

 

Crossbows LLP

 

 

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02-01/02

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