Welcome to the May edition of our Wills and Estates Newsletter. In our last edition of Wills and Estates Newsletter, we provided case notes on family provision claims. We examined the changes impacting a foreign beneficiary under a will to inherit Australian land. In this edition of the Wills and Estates Newsletter, our team will report on the following topics:

  1. Why can't you rely on a 'DIY' Will Kit?
  2. Is a completed online Will questionnaire a valid Will?
  3. What happens to your body on your death?
  4. Can a stepchild make a family provision claim?

We trust you will enjoy the read.

Why can't you rely on a 'DIY' Will Kit or a homemade will?

Preparing your own will at home or 'Do-it-yourself' will using the will kit available for purchase around $25 at the post office ("homemade wills") can have expensive consequences for your estate. This article will explore the common issues we encounter with homemade wills in our estate practice and make recommendations to avoid those issues for your estate.

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Is a completed online Will questionnaire a valid Will?

In a recent case, Justice Hallen was faced with the question "did a completed Will questionnaire satisfy the requirements of being a valid Will?" These days so many things are done electronically, it is easy for people to think they have completed a document when they actually have not: they needed to do something more. That is precisely the case with preparing and finalising your Will using technology such as a "Will App" questionnaire. In this article we will discuss why Justice Hallen decided, that in this particular case, the deceased did in fact have a valid Will for the purposes of s8 of the Succession Act 2006 (NSW).

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What happens to your body on your death?

An interesting question was raised recently regarding who has the control over your body on your death? In other words, who makes the decisions about your burial or cremation? Is it your spouse, children, next of kin or your executor? In this article, we will take a closer look and help answer that question. We will also discuss the disposal of your ashes.

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Can a stepchild make a family provision claim?

In a recent decision by Hallen J, Plummer & Anor v Montgomery [2023] NSWSC 175, the Court considered family provision claims made by two adult stepchildren on the estate of their late stepmother. This case note will consider their eligibility, the factors warranting the claims, the nature of their relationship with their stepmother, their financial circumstances, and their needs.

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The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.