Lesley McDonnellAs the year draws to a close, it is timely to commit to new goals for the coming year. As you spend time with family and loved ones this Christmas, we encourage you to consider estate planning as one of your goals for the coming year.

This could mean one of two things. It could mean making a will for the first time which is tailored to suit your personal and financial circumstances. Or updating your current will in case your circumstances have changed since the last time you made your will.

One recent case serves as a timely reminder that just as life does not standstill nor should your will be locked away in a drawer and forgotten.  Your will needs to be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure it carries out your wishes.

The Deceased made a Will in 1959. She died some 40 years later. The estate of the deceased consisted principally of a house and a bank account.

The applicant in this case was the grandson of the deceased (the Plaintiff).

There was a very good relationship between the Plaintiff and his grandmother.

Having been left out of his grandmother’s will, the plaintiff claimed that for a period of twelve years he resided in the same house as the Deceased, that for at least the last four years of her life he was the principal carer of the Deceased, looking after every aspect of her daily routine, recognised by him receiving a carer’s pension. It was submitted that that care was undertaken at a considerable sacrifice to the Plaintiff, who has been subsequently disadvantaged. Further, that in consequence of the efforts and activities of the Plaintiff there was a substantial contribution by him to the conservation of the assets which comprise the estate of the Deceased. The Plaintiff submitted that those contributions to the personal and financial welfare of the Deceased were such as would cause him to be generally regarded as a natural object of the testamentary recognition of the Deceased.

Taking into account all of the circumstances of the case, the Court agreed.

In so doing the Court emphasised that an order for provision is not made as a reward for good conduct. Neither is such an order withheld as punishment for perceived bad conduct on the part of an applicant.

As one of your goals for 2012, we encourage you to put your affairs in order for the benefit of your loved ones and for your own peace of mind. At Everingham Solomons we have the expertise to assist you with all matters relating to Estate Planning, because Helping You is Our Business.

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