Friday Flash Poll: testing your knowledge about wills

The Friday Flash Poll tests your knowledge about end-of-life planning.

The Friday Flash Poll tests your knowledge about end-of-life planning

Tim* wrote to YourLifeChoices recently asking us to warn our members about the dangers of not leaving a will.

He explained that when his grandmother died, his mother and her three siblings were to be the beneficiaries of her estate. She had asked that on her death, she be transported back to her homeland to be buried with her husband and mother. Tim’s mother paid for this before the estate was finalised.

Tim wrote: “It was well known to everyone in our community of what sacrifices my mother did for her mother, but upon her death everything changed. And the common denominator was money.

“One of the siblings’ thinking was that her mother had no debts, was receiving multiple income streams and had never really bought any assets. So she should have loads of money and why is it taking so long to settle her estate.

“I had to explain the process, that we had to pay for the final costs of the funeral and the transportation of her remains overseas and when the final bill comes in for her headstone, we can finalise everything.

“As she had no will, we wanted to finalise the costs and then sit down and disburse the funds.  Being family, we thought this would have been a simple process.

“It went the other way. Solicitors were engaged by two of the siblings. Accusations were made of misappropriation of funds and in the process of responding to these claims, they secretly applied to the courts to become administrators of the estate – something we were not aware of and were not even given the option of being appointed joint administrators.

“That left us in the dark, having to defend ourselves in every matter involving the finances of my grandmother.

“In the end, the estate took three years to finalise, cost $50,000 (which came out of the estate, which in effect meant that all the beneficiaries ended up paying for someone else's greed.

“It affected us all emotionally as well as financially. To think that your own family could have done this was beyond us. It was so bad that when my father passed away, none of the siblings that started the legal process came to his funeral, or their children.

“We have disowned them. Unfortunately, the emotional effect will go on forever.”

Tim implores everyone  – young and old – to prepare a will. And that’s the topic of our Friday Flash Poll today.

Loading...

* Not his real name.

Do you have any advice with regard to preparing a will? Have you been involved in any family dramas due to the writing of a will?

RELATED ARTICLES





    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    Nerk
    26th Apr 2019
    11:05am
    Whats the good of having a poll when there is no result publicised
    Janelle Ward
    29th Apr 2019
    8:01am
    Poll results are usually always posted on Monday.
    ozirules
    26th Apr 2019
    11:13am
    Here we go again with the Will subject...having a will is no guarantee the deceased wishes will be carried out. Dont pin all your hopes on a will try to make other arrangements to protect those you wish to benefit from your assets.....and by the way if you find a bombproof way to do this, please let me know.
    TREBOR
    26th Apr 2019
    11:20am
    The ex is still pondering hers - since her three kids are at loggerheads, giving one the PoA is a disaster, and giving two the PoA is a disaster, and giving three the PoA is a disaster... and no guarantee that anyone else will survive those kids...

    I told her to just leave it all to me - the kids don't care, the grandies are too young, I've been the carer now for seven years and developed her prosperity via hard work and property improvement and selling up the market, surely if Achmed the taxi driver from somewhere or other can get an old lady to give over her house, I can wangle the same deal for my work...

    No way to guarantee how it will be handled.
    TREBOR
    26th Apr 2019
    11:14am
    Got me a will, got me funeral insurance dedicated to the wake.... got the kids advised they are not to cry or I'll come back and haunt them... but are to honour my life etc not my passing.

    Man - what WILL you all do without my wit?
    Anonymous
    26th Apr 2019
    12:31pm
    You know, Bob, with a little bit of effort that post could be adjusted and put to music and may even become a No 1 in both genres; Country and Western.
    Anonymous
    26th Apr 2019
    4:13pm
    I donated my body to science, which saves money going to greedy funeral directors.
    Anonymous
    26th Apr 2019
    6:47pm
    A relative did that, Knows-a-lot, and the body was rejected due to transport costs. Caused some issues.

    26th Apr 2019
    12:07pm
    Reading all of the pitfalls with making a will leads me to believe that there may be no such thing as a watertight last will and testament. A solicitor once told me that if a person is mentioned in a will that they are unable to claim that they have been forgotten even if the only mention is "To .......I leave my best wishes." Seems that this may be incorrect.

    I suppose that a will is now a matter of trust that those left will respect the wishes of the deceased. Obviously greed is the driving force ably supported by the legal profession who are certainly not doing it pro bono. A friend of my wife had a sister who was unhappy with her share and it became legal professionals at 10 paces and the courts. The estate was eaten up by legal fees and not only that, there was a balance over and above the estate value that needed to be paid leaving the warring sisters worse off that before.

    We paid for our children's education, advised them as best as we could about careers and are now retired with a modest home and a little bit of cash for emergencies. They ask from time to time if we are OK so maybe, just maybe, there will be no challenge to the wills.
    Eddy
    26th Apr 2019
    12:14pm
    My will was drafted by military lawyers when I was sent to Vietnam, very simple, everything goes to my wife or, if she does not survive me by more than 28 days, equally between my children. It need updating as I had appointed a guardian for my infant children (required by the military so they would know to whom to send my children if both of us died simultaneously). I would now like to appoint my eldest child as executor and delete the guardianship provisions. I hope my will is still valid even if it is over 50 years old.
    Sceptic
    26th Apr 2019
    12:15pm
    Waste of money to have life insurance when aged. Premiums are far too high.
    KSS
    26th Apr 2019
    1:07pm
    And when you are alive you can't claim and when you are dead you don't need to!

    If you have no debt and no dependants it is an unnecessary extortionate expense.
    Old Geezer
    26th Apr 2019
    2:09pm
    It will all go in death taxes so no point in having life insurance.
    Karl Marx
    26th Apr 2019
    3:57pm
    And what death taxes are those OG, scaremongering again
    Karl Marx
    26th Apr 2019
    8:08pm
    Your silence id deafening OG, so I rightly presume you are scaremongering again with the usual rubbish
    Anonymous
    28th Apr 2019
    6:54pm
    SFR,

    Are you denying the news reports that Greens leader Di Natale only recently has demanded the reintroduction of death taxes and so have Bill Shorten's big union bosses, the ACTU for example?

    Shorten is depending on Greens' preferences and for later support to form a government and to pass legislation.

    However the left that support Labor are for death taxes too. Just another weapon of the class war against members of the public who try to do the right thing and provide for their family's education and care after they have gone.
    Paddington
    28th Apr 2019
    11:33pm
    LJ, wrong! The Greens proposal re the death tax is not on the family home or on the home you live in so would not affect people with one property.
    Your family will inherit your home and estate without any death taxes. I hope this is an innocent error and not one aimed at stopping people voting for the Greens or Labor if that is their choice.
    Karl Marx
    29th Apr 2019
    9:52am
    OG & LV are scaremongering for their LNP bosses, must be payday soon, pay per post. There paid per post jobs will be gone soon.

    26th Apr 2019
    12:33pm
    We're leaving all to each other still living etc and last one to pop clogs - Dogs home gets the rest and executor is Dogs Home Executive.
    Dogs home has to keep our current dog in our home moving in someone to care for him and only after he/she passes can the home be sold if they desire the $ or can go on keeping it going up in value and rent it out etc.
    Our kids know not getting anything. Had good educations etc and we owe them no more care but do our doggie mates who love us guard us and relies on us so why leave them stranded? Makes for good visits all round and no argy bargy to come. Mind we did give each same amount towards a deposit on first home once married saying this is it guys and gals.
    Paddington
    28th Apr 2019
    12:29am
    Dogs before your children, I am sorry but I just do not understand that. Everything to the dogs home, I think you are joking or wanting a reaction.
    Dogs do not understand. Your children will. Your children will grieve and be hurting.
    When you die your children will all come back to the family home to be together. They will reminisce.
    They do not know how it will hit them but it will hit them. When your parents die life changes.
    I still grieve for my mother and father.
    I am sorry but I cannot get my head around this.
    Paddington
    28th Apr 2019
    12:45am
    And this set up is ripe for contesting! A stranger getting your money even if it is only from the sale of the house. Better to leave the dogs to your children to take care of and divide your estate evenly amongst your children. The dogs home guy has no right and if he has any decency will not accept it. If I was him I would think it terribly wrong!
    Farside
    28th Apr 2019
    12:54pm
    good thing that when the last one leaves the waiting room there will be nobody to be concerned when the Dogs Home bequest is challenged. It may be best to make the transfers and agreements while alive if you want to ensure your wishes are executed.
    ozirules
    28th Apr 2019
    7:17pm
    this is the problem Paddington, people like you thinking they know better than the deceased how to distribute the money. Who cares whether you understand it or not, it's not your decision to make so butt out. If you want to give your money to children, the red headed vertically challenged or heaven forbid the Collingwood supporters group go for it, it is your right to do so but allow others to exercise the same right to flush it down the loo if they so choose.
    Paddington
    28th Apr 2019
    11:52pm
    ozirules, the kids will contest it. They have more rights than the dogs.
    Apart from being morally wrong, it is wide open for contesting.
    There could be grandchildren as well.
    There may be other relatives.
    Because I decide to leave my money to the fairies at the bottom of the garden does not mean that will happen.
    What a gut wrenching thing to do to your kids and grandkids and even another family member.
    Run it past a lawyer, it will fail. Like everything in life there are rules and laws not to mention common sense.
    Karl Marx
    26th Apr 2019
    12:43pm
    ALL wills can be contested. If doing a will that you may think will be contested or have specific requirements that you don't want contested have everything done through a specialist Estate Planning Attorney
    A link to some good explanations about Estate planning & wills
    https://www.attwoodmarshall.com.au/how-to-avoid-someone-contesting-your-will/
    Anonymous
    26th Apr 2019
    6:53pm
    Wouldn't trust Atwood Marshall. And I don't believe you can avoid someone contesting your will. I've just had to defend a will, as executor, and the entire legal system stinks. It's designed to enrich lawyers and barristers, and there is absolutely no regard for fairness, decency, family relationships, much less the wishes of the deceased. Lawyers are happy to destroy the estate and everyone connected to the affair for a fat profit.
    Anonymous
    26th Apr 2019
    6:53pm
    Wouldn't trust Atwood Marshall. And I don't believe you can avoid someone contesting your will. I've just had to defend a will, as executor, and the entire legal system stinks. It's designed to enrich lawyers and barristers, and there is absolutely no regard for fairness, decency, family relationships, much less the wishes of the deceased. Lawyers are happy to destroy the estate and everyone connected to the affair for a fat profit.
    Karl Marx
    26th Apr 2019
    8:06pm
    the link was only for reference & some education as most people believe that a will is gospel & don't realise ALL wills can be contested by whomever & not necessarily by a family member. remember Pratt's estate & the prostitute.
    You can make it more difficult to contest by having an Estate Planning Attorney write up your wishes than just doing the norm & going to the local solicitor at the local shopping centre or even stopping at the post office & buying a will kit
    KB
    26th Apr 2019
    12:56pm
    Just received a letter from Public Trustee stating that only concession card holders are eligible to use Public Trustee. In SA if you need a will made without being a concession holder you need the services of the lawyer.
    sunnyOz
    26th Apr 2019
    1:09pm
    Not so in Qld - anyone can use PT
    Anonymous
    26th Apr 2019
    7:24pm
    I wouldn't go near the public trustee anyway. They are expensive and hopelessly inefficient.
    PlanB
    29th Apr 2019
    9:18am
    Do not use PT -- they take a heap!
    KB
    26th Apr 2019
    12:56pm
    Just received a letter from Public Trustee stating that only concession card holders are eligible to use Public Trustee. In SA if you need a will made without being a concession holder you need the services of the lawyer.
    KSS
    26th Apr 2019
    1:10pm
    Another stupid survey with questions that don't make sense. If you answer no you dont have a will you cannot answer the next question that asks when you made it. Next the survey demands you answer the question. If you haven't made a will there is NO date. What part of 'No' do you not understand?
    gerry
    26th Apr 2019
    1:26pm
    I,m with the public trustees qld. but ,when I went to update they could only find parts of my records and that took weeks. I have read about them on the net and not one review is favourable,,Not too optimistic about ending up in hospital and them paying the right bills eg rent ,car etc … Trouble is I have no next of kin
    gerry
    26th Apr 2019
    1:26pm
    I,m with the public trustees qld. but ,when I went to update they could only find parts of my records and that took weeks. I have read about them on the net and not one review is favourable,,Not too optimistic about ending up in hospital and them paying the right bills eg rent ,car etc … Trouble is I have no next of kin
    MICK
    26th Apr 2019
    1:52pm
    No Will. There's the first problem.
    Multiple beneficiaries. There's the second problem.
    No legal representation from the start. There's the third problem.
    Millennials believing THEY were entitled. There's the fourth problem.

    Parents need to leave a will, make clear direction and BE FAIR. Clearly the older woman did none of that and left beneficiaries to tear themselves apart like a pack of hyenas feeding on a carcass. So sad.
    Anonymous
    26th Apr 2019
    7:22pm
    Not necessarily, Mick. The will I recently had to try to defend was perfectly fair and reasonable and the reasoning was clearly stated. It was checked over by three lawyers and a backup Affidavit was made to substantiate it. Yet a greedy little turd who had never worked a day in her life and was bludging on taxpayers contested and cheating Centrelink. Despite having inherited a fortune from elsewhere, that greedy little turd succeeded in demolishing 1/3rd of the estate (mostly to lawyers), wrecking family relationships permanently, causing 2 years of untold stress and misery, and depriving the rightful beneficiary of a fair bequest.

    With what I learned, I could defend a will better than most lawyers and barristers, but it's clear to me that THEY DON'T WANT TO DEFEND. The system is designed to enrich the legal fraternity. Neither right, fairness, human decency - much less the deceased's wishes - count. All it takes is one selfish individual and the Court will hand them a loaded gun and say 'hold this at the executor's head and extort for all your are worth'. The executor has no effective defence. Not even allowed to contest the lies in the claimant's affidavit, reference the deceased's wishes, or make any statement other than of the estate assets and the assets and income of the other beneficiaries. Whoever succeeds best in appearing like the 'lame duck' gets the booty.
    Paddington
    28th Apr 2019
    6:17pm
    OlderandWiser, do you have a Seniors Health Card?
    Off topic I know but do you?
    Farside
    28th Apr 2019
    11:55pm
    O&W, it seems that your experience defending a will did not go so well when it came down to doing it in the courts where it counts; in your mind you might be better than most lawyers and barristers but unfortunately for you, not the ones you faced in court.

    Your personal characterisation of the claimant has nothing to do with her entitlement and perhaps if this had been realised early in the process then the disputed will could have been resolved amicably without the associated damage to relationships. The "lame duck" is not always a winner; in some cases the "lame duck" is squashed like a bit of road kill and would have been better off not contesting.
    Anonymous
    29th Apr 2019
    2:05pm
    Farside, I didn't go to court. Time over, knowing what I know now, I would have taken a counter action in a different court against an associated party and that would have ensured the plaintiff's fraud and theft from the deceased was exposed. As it was, there was no way to even investigate the fraud and theft in a will dispute. It was solely about who had what. He who has least gets most - no matter what the deceased wanted or why or what facts SHOULD be considered.

    Actually, I didn't even get to speak to the lawyers or barristers for the plaintiff, so you are quite wrong in your conclusions. I did, however, make one mistake I would never make again. I was far too generous to a plaintiff in the hopes of restoring some level of harmony in a broken family. I misjudged the plaintiff. I didn't realize just how vile and disgusting she was and how full of hatred.

    As for your conclusions about the plaintiff and your assumptions about resolution - you couldn't be further from the truth. As I said, the mistake I made was grossly UNDERESTIMATING the plaintiff's vile selfishness, hatred, and dishonesty, and the lengths she was prepared to go to - damaging innocent people and tearing apart the lives of people not even involved in the matter - to get what she wanted. I made a far too generous settlement offer, hoping to avoid damage to relationships. It was rejected with a counter demand for TWICE THE TOTAL VALUE OF THE ESTATE and a threat to sue me personally claiming abuse of power of attorney. My response was a repeat of my earlier offer, but thankfully a good friend who had been through some dramas tipped me off to a clause I could insert in the offer to force the plaintiff's hand. My lawyer refused to insert it. I had to threaten to dismiss him, complain to the law association, and refuse payment to get that clause in, but it worked.

    At no time was I allowed to speak to or communicate with the plaintiff or her legal team, and I remained silent when the judge ordering the settlement conference was told a pack of lies by the plaintiff's lawyers (Another mistake. I should have spoken out.) I was required to state the beneficiaries entire assets, income, debts, expenses, family circumstances, etc. in detail, but not one single relevant fact about the deceased's wishes, reasons, or the conduct of the plaintiff was permitted to be exposed.

    The lame duck is always the winner, unless the estate is quite large and an extended court battle exposes that the lame duck is lying. And such cases are very rare. The executor's lawyers WANT the lame duck to win, so more lame ducks line up to accept their filthy 'no win no pay' offer of representation and lawyers for both sides make a killing.
    Anonymous
    29th Apr 2019
    2:09pm
    Paddington, yes it is off topic, and really none of your business. Why would you ask that?
    Old Geezer
    26th Apr 2019
    2:10pm
    Don't leave it to your partner if they will lose the OAP. Leave it to the kids instead.
    MICK
    26th Apr 2019
    3:35pm
    I thought you didn't like your kids?
    Old Geezer
    26th Apr 2019
    3:43pm
    My kids and grandkids are great and they also have a lot more money than I have as well.
    MICK
    26th Apr 2019
    5:21pm
    Your previous posts reeked of anger and unhappiness with your kids OG. Has that changed?
    Anonymous
    26th Apr 2019
    7:14pm
    If your partner would lose the OAP as a result of you leaving your estate to others, Centrelink will intervene and insist the partner contest the will, and they will win.
    Paddington
    28th Apr 2019
    12:34am
    Rubbish! You both own what you have anyway!
    Nothing changes for us if the other one passes. Whoever survives will live in our home which is owned by both of us.
    It will no longer be couple pension but a single pension.
    Life is less complicated when you have less I guess.
    Anonymous
    28th Apr 2019
    11:50am
    Sorry, Paddington, but what I said was NOT rubbish. Not all couples share what they have. Some keep their assets separate, and if they do that and one leaves their estate to the children and excludes their dependant spouse, forcing their spouse to apply for a pension, Centrelink will tell the spouse to contest the will and that a dependant spouse will always win - automatically.

    Your situation is common, but not universal. There are others in the world. Perhaps that's the problem that leads to disagreements here. People assume too much about others instead of thinking things through and trying to see things from different viewpoints and to consider issues as they apply to different circumstances. I see that in politics also. "Oh, it won't affect many people" or "You can just do x... y... z... " or "If you are in that situation it's because...." Nearly always, such assumptions are garbage.
    Old Geezer
    26th Apr 2019
    2:10pm
    Don't leave it to your partner if they will lose the OAP. Leave it to the kids instead.
    bandy
    26th Apr 2019
    3:21pm
    I dont have to worry nothing to leave
    ozirules
    26th Apr 2019
    3:28pm
    an old boss of mine lived in permanent debt and said that was the only way to come out a winner when you pop your clogs
    MICK
    26th Apr 2019
    3:36pm
    Damned if you do. Damned if you don't. People need to be happy with their choices as long as the system is not a casino against average citizens. It is.
    Gammer
    26th Apr 2019
    4:06pm
    A will is good but it can be challenged... my husband’s will was and it took over 8 years to come to an agreement with the other parties by which time around half of the assets were swallowed up by legal fees..... very frustrating!
    Knight Templar
    26th Apr 2019
    4:15pm
    The only guarantee "where there's a Will- there's a relative".
    gerry
    26th Apr 2019
    4:51pm
    Kerry Packer was asked what it was like to be a billionaire ,he replied ""Mate you can only watch one TV at a time!!""
    gerry
    26th Apr 2019
    4:51pm
    Kerry Packer was asked what it was like to be a billionaire ,he replied ""Mate you can only watch one TV at a time!!""
    MD
    26th Apr 2019
    5:50pm
    Will I or won't I ? - that is the question. Mad if you don't cos no matter how well you think you know your family/beneficiaries, when it comes down to the almighty dollar (and divvying the spoils) I've seen too many - supposedly amicable siblings - show their true colours when the cash register rings.
    I seriously doubt the existence of an incontestable Will, the legal eagles will take on all comers... for the vaguest of any claimants' justification: charges apply!
    Forewarned may well be forearmed and 'the best laid plans of mice and men oft gang aglay'

    As we won't be around to worry about the petty squabbles - the survivors will do what they will, regardless of our best wishes. Where there's a will, there's a way!
    Thoughtful
    26th Apr 2019
    6:00pm
    Today's blending of families means making a will which cannot be contested almost impossible! We really should be able to have more say over our final wishes.
    ozirules
    26th Apr 2019
    9:24pm
    agree Thoughtful, how can it be that a person cannot dispose of their assets as they wish....it's disgraceful that the law doesn't uphold this basic human right to make a gift to whoever or whatever you choose. The only allowable challenge to a Will should be on the basis that it is fraudulent not that someone disagrees with the deceased wishes.
    shirboy
    27th Apr 2019
    1:17pm
    Public Trustee charges a % whereas a lawyer charges a set fee. Also the PT are very difficult to deal with.
    Anonymous
    28th Apr 2019
    7:01pm
    Well said.
    bobbalinda
    27th Apr 2019
    5:55pm
    Even when there is a will though often someone will contest it and create problems and big costs. As the saying goes, Where there's a will, there's a war!
    bobbalinda
    27th Apr 2019
    5:55pm
    Even when there is a will though often someone will contest it and create problems and big costs. As the saying goes, Where there's a will, there's a war!

    28th Apr 2019
    7:16pm
    Labor's changes to previous de facto (common law marriage)
    - the very rubbery definition of 'relationship' and the flow on effects of that - complicated things. But it exists and has to be dealt with.

    Another broad issue are the egal rights of (usually adult) children who are alienated from you. It matters little that alienated children might have totally severed contact for many years and don't allow their children to see their grandparents. They can still successfully contest a Will. To lessen the impact and remove some of the ground from under the feet of their lawyers, DO make some REASONABLE provision for them in your Will, along with a polite, again reasonable, statement of any other likely sources of income and assets they might have that somehow can make up for any relative lessening of their benefits from your Will. -But make sure you spend the $1+ for a large legal firm to do same. The partners do know whet they are about and they should be doing QA on work done in their name.

    For example, where one child of four is alienated and (say) has taken the 'side' of a vengeful/greedy previous ex-spouse (and there are many such examples!), you might leave it all to the children with the alienated child receiving half of what each of the others get. Add a coment that s/he is alienated, hasn't been contact for years and that you expect that s/he can confidently be expected to be receiving a favourable provision when her/his other parent dies.
    Anonymous
    28th Apr 2019
    7:27pm
    That should be $1K+, not $1+ as most would realise. A simple Will can easily cost $1.3k in my experience.

    I also failed to mention that because one can never rule out a contested Will where there are any assets of real value, that it is wise IMHO to regularly re-sign the Will. Certainly, do it if there is any major change in circumstances.

    The cost of a quick review without major change should be low. Tell your Executor/s in advance to get some advice from the lawyer when administering the Will.

    You have armed your Executor/s and dependents and hopefully warned off any bottom feeding lawyer.

    I have been a joint Executor before and the deceased and the lawyer concerned knew that one or more of the beneficiaries had spouses themselves who were nasty litigious types.

    29th Apr 2019
    1:33pm
    We wont have to worry about a will if Shorten wins the election because he will take it for his death duties

    29th Apr 2019
    1:33pm
    We wont have to worry about a will if Shorten wins the election because he will take it for his death duties