You’ll still pay taxes when you’re dead

Rod Cunich answers your questions about death taxes and family obligations.

money, wills, estate, estranged

YourLifeChoices’ estate planning expert Rod Cunich receives a lot of questions about wills and, you guessed it, estate planning, Today, he answers your questions about death taxes and family obligations.

•••

Q. John
I have lived in the United States with my American wife (my second wife) for nine years. My children live in Australia. I own a house with my wife in the US and one in Australia. What do I need to consider when rewriting my will?

A. The US/Australia death-related tax issues are complex sadly. There is a risk that you will pay US death tax on the value of your Australian asset in addition to your US assets. It is not possible to address the issue on the information you have provided. I recommend you see a specialist estate planning lawyer who understands the complexities. At best, you will be comforted in knowing the death taxes don’t apply; at worst, you will know what taxes may apply and perhaps take steps to minimise them. 

•••

 

Q. Madge
My daughter and I haven’t spoken at all for 25 years and I’m making out my will. What are my obligations to her?

A. You have the right to decide who you leave your estate to. That said, even an estranged adult child has the right to challenge your will if he or she believes they have been unfairly treated or left out. The courts have the power to award a child part of your estate if the child satisfies the court that the will should have made provision for them. There are about 20 factors a court will examine in the process of making a determination and the outcome of this type of case is almost impossible to predict. It is a myth that making a small gift rather than no gift will help avoid a challenge. No matter what you do, there will be uncertainty so I recommend you go with what you think feels right.

Disclaimer: This information has been provided by Rod Cunich and should be considered general in nature. Seek legal advice before acting on this information.

Rod Cunich is a lawyer with over 30 years of experience who specialises in estate planning. If you have a question for Rod, simply email it to newsletters@yourlifechoices.com.au

RELATED ARTICLES





    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    4b2
    5th Jan 2018
    10:13am
    It's time to bring back inheritance tax at %15 - %20. For all estates over $2.5 million.
    maelcolium
    5th Jan 2018
    10:35am
    Why?
    Old Geezer
    5th Jan 2018
    10:40am
    We already have such a tax in the form of probate and that is enough.
    Cautious
    5th Jan 2018
    11:14am
    So the government can get its hands on everything.
    Properties will have to be sold to pay the tax.
    Cautious
    5th Jan 2018
    11:19am
    Brings me to a different point.
    Single thresholds throughout Australia.
    A backyard dunny may be worth $2.5 million in Sydney.
    How about different thresholds around Australia, and I dont mean for your tax idea.
    I mean for every single little thing the government sets a threshold for.
    Tib
    5th Jan 2018
    12:35pm
    Why because you don't have 2.5 million?
    Rosret
    5th Jan 2018
    2:32pm
    Nope - never. It hurts to many people still living. It is the cruelest tax of all.
    Anonymous
    5th Jan 2018
    3:11pm
    Why? Because the bloody rich should pay.
    Old Geezer
    5th Jan 2018
    4:41pm
    Why should the rich pay more than anyone else?
    Tib
    5th Jan 2018
    5:38pm
    I think we have to get over the idea that a couple of million is rich I think those days are long gone.
    KB
    5th Jan 2018
    11:08am
    4b2 for millionaires yes. Not for people who have a modest amount to bequeath to relations
    Tib
    5th Jan 2018
    12:37pm
    A million dollars is nothing most of the people in Sydney have houses worth that much.
    Rosret
    5th Jan 2018
    2:34pm
    KB if you own a house these days you are pretty much a millionaire. Taxing the wealthy collapses family businesses and can put thousands out of work. It is a bad tax.
    Anonymous
    5th Jan 2018
    3:13pm
    Tib, you forget that a significant proportion of pensioners do not own their own houses.

    Rosret, that's true only in the capital cities.
    Tib
    5th Jan 2018
    5:28pm
    Knows-a-lot still a million dollars isn't a lot of money these days. I know a lot of people have much less but it's not rich.
    Tib
    5th Jan 2018
    5:35pm
    Pays to keep in mind that if you have a few kids and then the money is split between them it doesn't go far.
    Anonymous
    7th Jan 2018
    8:37am
    I think maybe $3 million is a more realistic threshold. Tib is right. $1 million is not a lot in today's world.

    Probate is NOT inheritance tax. It's a very minimal amount indeed. Hardly makes a pin prick in any decent size estate.

    I think we do need an inheritance tax on very large estates, but there should be some special provisions to ensure it doesn't adversely impact business succession or the passing down of agricultural properties etc. I'm not sure what the answer is, but we have to do something about growing inequality and inheritance is a major contributor to the problem. Besides, we tax most other types of income. Why not the type that is easiest to come by and requires the least endeavour to acquire?
    LiveItUp
    7th Jan 2018
    10:39am
    Those who own nothing but control everything will be laughing all the way to the bank with such a proposal Rainey.
    Anonymous
    7th Jan 2018
    3:21pm
    Of course the tax should extend to everything the deceased controlled, and not just be limited to what they owned. These fakes who claim to own nothing when in fact they are rich need to be bought into line.
    LiveItUp
    7th Jan 2018
    5:13pm
    There is no way you can tax something that someone does not own. You can't tax a house someone lives in if they don't own it. Yet that person has a right to live in that house.
    Anonymous
    8th Jan 2018
    1:58pm
    You can abolish Trusts and other artificial structures that enable people to control things they don't own. And that should happen.

    5th Jan 2018
    11:15am
    Consider those people of pension age and in receipt of the Aged Pension, and living in multi million dollar homes in Sydney and Melbourne. So the tax payer keeps them going in their twilight years, and when they depart this mortal coil, the kids move in and clean up (financially). Is that fair and equitable to the ordinary Oz taxpayer? I think not. In these situations surely part (or all) of the pension paid to such a couple/single should be redeemed by the government, from the proceeds of the estate, and the remainder distributed to the beneficiaries - now that is equitable!
    Annie
    5th Jan 2018
    11:19am
    Agree .
    Tib
    5th Jan 2018
    12:39pm
    No it's not.
    marls
    5th Jan 2018
    2:41pm
    Is it fair that we are the only country in the world to means test the aged pension eg nz every person of pension age receives the pension regardless of assess and can continue to work full time in Europe no means tests snd ppl are assessed as individual not as a couple and my father is deceased but my mother still receives her pension plus a portion of my fathers I do t know about you but I worked paid my taxes never not a thing free of the gvt and maybe if the gvt stopped giving billions to overseas we would not be broke
    Rae
    5th Jan 2018
    2:46pm
    No but then many of the means test provisions aren't fair.

    Fairness has nothing to do with it. Once over 60 a single can be receiving large incomes and pay no tax while a worker pays a good amount.

    Taxing labour but cutting taxes on investment returns generously seems quite bizarre.

    By the time you are charged government bonds, taxes and fees for aged care there won't be much left if you have any savings at all.

    The rules are extremely inequitable as you pay depending on your assets. Good thing a huge bond isn't required by the supermarket to shop there or by the school for educating your children.

    If you start fussing about OAP what about unpaid HECs, childcare rebates, unemployment payments, tax concessions for saving and various grants and other concessions.

    It would create a minefield and is probably unconstitutional.
    Anonymous
    5th Jan 2018
    3:15pm
    Big Al. Don't forget the elderly who have to sell their property in order to reside in a nursing home.
    Old Geezer
    5th Jan 2018
    3:44pm
    Fairest thing to do is for anyone who receives the OAP to have to pay back any money received from their estate. Same goes for HECS debt as it is very wrong that old people can accumulated them and never pay them back yet our young kids are burdened by it for the rest f their working lives.
    Kaz
    5th Jan 2018
    3:58pm
    You forget that we had a pension fund. Then it was collected through income tax and the fund, in today’s terms, of trillions $ went into government revenue. Much like Costello and his kind want to take super these days but mainly to pay the big boys big salaries. Income tax is still collected, so did anyone hear that they stopped taking the pension fund part of it? The UK still has its pension fund. Aus gives just can’t seem to keep things separate. Then they tell pensioners they can’t afford them but continue to pay themselves until they die.
    Kaz
    5th Jan 2018
    4:00pm
    Leave the home out of it. My dad could have bought in Sydney’s west or in Manly. It’s the luck of the draw I’m afraid.
    Old Geezer
    5th Jan 2018
    4:43pm
    Those on welfare wold have been lucky to get 1% of what they do today if they had to rely upon that old thankfully disbandened pension fund.
    Blossom
    5th Jan 2018
    8:30pm
    One house I personally know was valued at $37,500.00 on 1981. In 2012 it was valued at $540,000.00 The only things that were updated was a basic stove, hot water service, water softener, rainwater tank which were all replacements. Apart from those itmes and about $2,000.00 for painting no other money had been spent on it. I was not the owner's fault that its value jumped so much. In SA you can only have a very low amount of cash in a bank account before you have to pay Probate (SA Govt. Tax) I don't know if other states have it or something similar or not.
    Anonymous
    6th Jan 2018
    10:37am
    OG, the old pension fund would have been sufficient to pay EVERY retiree $500 a week today if properly maintained, and we are STILL paying into it.

    As for handing back homes that workers have struggled and gone without for decades to pay off, that's a disgustingly selfish suggestion when fat-cat rich pigs get $38 billion a year in unfair superannuation tax concessions that don't benefit the battlers, not to mention their unfair capital gains tax concessions, negative gearing deductions, and a host of other handouts this country can't afford and that only benefit the gold-digging wealthy. How dare you want to deprive battlers of their homes so you can give more to the greedy gold hoarders? What a disgusting post!
    Anonymous
    6th Jan 2018
    2:55pm
    So, OG, the taxpayer MUST keep forking out $38+++ billion a year to subsidize the retirement of the rich, because otherwise they might stop putting their excess into super (which does the nation no good anyway) - but we can't have taxpayers paying for Old Age Pensions if people own houses. We must require the battlers to surrender their houses - in which case they likely wouldn't buy them in the first place. But that would suit the greedy rich, who would then own all the property so rents would skyrocket.

    Your objective is VERY transparent - and disgusting! What unbelievable greed!
    ex PS
    7th Jan 2018
    8:31am
    Considering most people who own homes worth $1 million dollars + now, probably paid a modest price when they bought them, YES, it is fair that they keep their home and collect the entitlement to which they are due.

    We do mot need blanket rules that do not take into consideration personal circumstances.

    The basic questions should be, how much did you pay for the property, how long have you had it, and what was the median price for that type of property in that area at the time it was purchased. Then a fair and equatable decision can be made as to if it should be included in an asset test.

    In a free country people should have the right to live in a house of their choice, in the area they want. If for some reason beyond their control their property has increased in value over decades, then good for them.
    Anonymous
    7th Jan 2018
    8:48am
    Personally, I think the assets test should be totally abolished. It's grossly unfair and punitive. Test income, including deemed income on assets over a generous threshold - INCLUDING the family home. If doing that causes hardship for owners of very valuable homes, a sensible reverse mortgage scheme at fair interest would enable them to maintain a living income without imposing an unfair burden on the less well-off. Of course assets intended as investments that people find themselves stuck with that CANNOT generate income for some reason should be excluded from any deeming calculation.

    The current pension system is grossly discriminatory and cruel to many, yet encourages manipulation and cheating and certainly drives over-investment in the family home. People should be allowed to live in the home of their choice and the area they want, but I agree that those who have very expensive homes should not have their lifestyle subsidized by others - many of whom may, under the current system, be far worse off yet not qualify for benefits because they accepted modest accommodation.

    Making the pension repayable from the sale of homes on death is far too simplistic, and like the other simplistic band-aids that have been woven into policy, would result in more gross unfairness and damaging reactions by those it cruelly impacted. We need to stop reacting to ''thought bubbles'' and start working logically through the wider implications of ideas, and then throw out the existing system that is just so horribly BAD in almost every way, and build a new one from the ground up that is logical, sustainable, and FAIR, and doesn't punish people for being responsible.
    LiveItUp
    7th Jan 2018
    10:36am
    The fairest system is to give people to option of getting the OAP no matter what assets and income they have. It then become a debt on their estate and has to be paid on their estate plus any assets they have given away in the previous 10 years.
    Anonymous
    7th Jan 2018
    3:25pm
    No. The fairest system would be to make the pension universal and unconditional and tax reitrees properly. And STOP the disgracefully over-indulgent and unaffordable superannuation and capital gains tax concessions, and the huge grants to the super-rich.

    It would be patently UNFAIR, DISCRINMINATORY, CRUEL and a reflection of GROSS AND APPALLING GREED to suggest that pensions should be repaid from estates but the rich fat cats can keep their handouts, as well as keeping the huge profits they make exploiting the underpaid who end up needing pensions.

    The aged pension is a moral entitlement after decades of slogging it out - often in appalling conditions and for far less than labour is worth - so that the capitalist system can thrive and the rich can get richer.
    LiveItUp
    7th Jan 2018
    5:09pm
    I disagree it is the only fair way as those who looked after themselves benefit by having no debt but those who failed to look after themselves have a debt on their estate. The age pension is welfare and certainly not an entitlement.
    Anonymous
    8th Jan 2018
    2:05pm
    Those who ''failed to look after themselves'' might be the same people who were abused and exploited by the stinking rich who will hand down their ill-gotten gain to their heirs and perpetuate growing inequality, which is the biggest threat society faces today. They probably enabled the rich to be rich by working for peanuts, and now these same greedy pigs want to take their homes away from them.

    Others who ''failed to look after themselves'' might have been born disabled or with inherited illness, or suffered disabling accident. Apparently you think they should be punished for that? Given that half the accidents are caused by the negligence of the more privileged, it seems to me to me just more gross injustice to let them profit from THEIR failings while their victims suffer. "

    Nothing you suggest is ''fair'', Bonny. It's disgracefully self-serving and greedy, and would do massive damage to society and the capitalist system.

    The aged pension is NOT WELFARE. It's a moral and ethical entitlement for anyone who has contributed to society, and anyone who claims otherwise has no integrity or common decency.
    CoogeeGuy
    5th Jan 2018
    11:28am
    I understand how Big Al may feel, but I am a single white male, I was posted as a policeman in the heart of the City of Sydney for the 29 years of my service, despite my attempts to secure a posting outside of the city. Thus I eventually purchased an apartment on the outskirts of the city, which up retirement I am still paying off. My apartment today, is worth $1,200,000.00, but I have no savings at all. I am asset rich, but cash poor. Big Al! are you suggesting I, after all these years working and living in the City of Sydney, I should be forced to downsize and/or move out from the city, because my apartment is worth over a million dollars? If so, I take offence and suggest your ideas are not thought through.
    Virginia
    5th Jan 2018
    11:42am
    Sounds weird how do you pay rates etc must have some money cos just the pension will not pay rates on home value that high and living
    costs.
    Cautious
    5th Jan 2018
    11:54am
    My point exactly CoogeeGuy.
    It is tougher to live and work in Sydney.
    Why kick us in the guts when we get older?
    CoogeeGuy
    5th Jan 2018
    12:17pm
    Hi Virgina. I am one of the lucky ones in a way. I unlike many of my colleagues am in receipt of a defined benefit superannuation scheme, which I joining prior to 1988. Thus I am not on the Aged Pension. I have paid into my superannuation scheme over the past 29 years, and at retirement I got to choose to either (a) take the lump sum of $900,000.00 or (b) forgo the lump sum and receive a fortnightly pension. Being single, I chose to take the fortnightly pension being around 63% of my final wage a fortnight. You could say my super is a bit of a gamble between the NSW Government and myself. If i die early (as most police do), the government wins, as my pension dies with me. If I live to a ripe old age, then I will gain. But eventually with the rise in cost of living, my pension amount will decline in value, and I must be prepare for that.
    .
    Further Virginia, I absolutely DO NOT receive any council or government concessions. I have to pay the full council and water rates, body corporate rates on my apartment of $1,500 a quarter, no medical discounts or private medical scheme discounts. I will continue to pay top dollar for everything for the rest of my life. That is WHY VIRGINIA I have no savings. I am flat out paying my bills as a single white male. I paid the maximum taxes all my life, and I will continue to pay top dollar for everything, including the killer quarterly body corporate fee which wipes me out of cash overtime it comes around.
    .
    I could have taken the lump sum and paid off my apartment, and went on many holidays and lived it up. But I chose to take the fortnightly pension. I am still paying off my apartment, and struggling to pay all my bills. SURELY, when I eventually pay off my apartment, I can continue to live in it UNCHALLENGED, after persevering all my life to pay it off, and trying to survive living in a city where the cost of living was, and continues to be, high. I reiterate once again. I do not have ANY savings, but I am very thankful I am not in receipt of an Aged Pension, as they are the true strugglers out there. I take my hat off to them.
    Sundays
    5th Jan 2018
    12:24pm
    Well I for one do not begrudge you anything coogeeguy. Bring a police officer in Sydney is a tough gig. Have you been to Centrelink because some of your Defined benefit pension is treated as exempt income and you may be entitled to a very small part pension. This would also entitle you to concessions.
    Tib
    5th Jan 2018
    12:41pm
    I agree.
    don
    5th Jan 2018
    12:48pm
    I do not see why we should pay an inheritance tax, we are taxed to the hilt all ready and the useless politicians would only waste that too.! In WA there are people from the 60's and 70's , who bought houses in the working class areas and are now the THE area, going up in value to the million plus. They do not have good pensions , so why should the gvt. tax them when they go. ? If there is any money left over , everyone thinks that the kids should get it , whats wrong with that.? Australia on the scale of pensions paid is 14 on the world list of poverty. The richest countries seem to be the lowest. It says something for the politicians here. Source OECD and Forbes Statista.
    B5YCK
    5th Jan 2018
    2:34pm
    Madge,
    It appears that there is bad blood between the two of you. If you do not want her in your will, it can be challenged in the courts. A way out is to give the lot to a charity at a time that suits you. after your passing away that will be very hard to challenge.
    Rosret
    5th Jan 2018
    2:40pm
    The cruelest thing a mother or father can do it to leave their child out of a Will. You are the adult, you were the carer and nurturer of this child. If you have not spoken for 25 years then the child is in desperate need of your love not matter what the reason.
    The most healing and powerful gift is to leave your child in the Will.
    It ultimately says,"I love you" unconditionally. Your final gift many be the best gift you ever gave.
    johninmelb
    5th Jan 2018
    4:05pm
    When I made my will, I left nothing to any member of my family, ie my parents or my two brothers. Whilst I have some contact with one brother, I am estranged from the other brother and my father. My mother has Alzheimers. The family have always been fully aware that if I died before them, anything I had at death would go to charity. My executor is also cognisant of my decisions in this regard.

    My solicitor made copious notes at the time regarding my wish not to leave anything to family, so that if it was challenged, the courts would be made aware of my reasons for this decision. He did that specifically in response to my questions about the will being challenged. I do not expect it will happen, but I wanted to be prepared for it - just in case some smartass decided to test my resolve!
    Rosret
    5th Jan 2018
    5:00pm
    John - why? You die grumpy and with little respect. Your family probably don't care less what you do with your money but your statement says what you think of them. Sad really.
    Anonymous
    5th Jan 2018
    5:41pm
    Rosret get real, just because they are family members doesn't mean a thing, they might well be mongrels! My sister hasn't spoken to me for 25 years and I can tell you I am not in need of anything from this drama queen, and she sure as hell won't be getting anything in my will, I'd rather burn it! but it's going to the animals. Stop being a sentimental slop.
    Anonymous
    5th Jan 2018
    5:41pm
    Rosret get real, just because they are family members doesn't mean a thing, they might well be mongrels! My sister hasn't spoken to me for 25 years and I can tell you I am not in need of anything from this drama queen, and she sure as hell won't be getting anything in my will, I'd rather burn it! but it's going to the animals. Stop being a sentimental slop.
    Anonymous
    6th Jan 2018
    10:29am
    So, Rosret, if the child stole half the mother's wealth before she died, the other siblings should still forfeit their fair share so the greedy thief can feel ''loved''?
    Anonymous
    6th Jan 2018
    10:33am
    John, if any of your family claim against your will, most of it will go to lawyers unless the executor just gives the claimant whatever they ask for. Copious notes are unlikely to help much, if at all. I know of a woman who made a sworn Affidavit that was very clear, logical and fair, and her lawyer made 80 pages of detailed notes, plus another lawyer made extensive notes. Not one word of any of that counted for anything. A greedy person put out their hand claiming need and they got the lot.
    Rosret
    5th Jan 2018
    2:49pm
    What would happen if John lived in Australia with a house in the USA and one in Australia I wonder. He is an Australian citizen.
    Anonymous
    6th Jan 2018
    10:28am
    Doesn't matter, Rosret. The law considers two facts:
    (1) where you died
    (2) where the assets are located.

    In the US, where the assets are located will, in this case, be the most significant factor determining taxes etc. In Australia, both factors will have equal merit.
    Florgan
    5th Jan 2018
    3:19pm
    I say NO to death taxes aka probate.
    The govt taxes us to death.
    Enough is enough!
    floss
    5th Jan 2018
    6:43pm
    1% best check your figures O.G you are wrong again.
    LiveItUp
    7th Jan 2018
    10:33am
    OG is right there was hardly enough in that old pension fund to pay welfare to OAPs for even a couple of years at the current rate. System was a big failure in today's world where people claim welfare for 30 years or more.
    Anonymous
    7th Jan 2018
    3:19pm
    No, both OG and you are wrong, Bonny. There was enough in that fund to pay EVERY CURRENT RETIREE $500 a week. And contributions are STILL flowing in, although they are no longer kept separate and are not used for the purpose for which they were intended.
    LiveItUp
    7th Jan 2018
    5:05pm
    Rubbish Rainey the reason why it was changed was that it was grossly inadequate due to people living 30 years or more beyond retirement age. It is a pity retirement age has been raised along with the life expectancy of people too. Raising the retirement age to 70 is a good start.
    Anonymous
    8th Jan 2018
    2:12pm
    WRONG, Bonny, The fund was massive and the contributions are still being made, though not directed honestly to the fund which has been rorted.

    Nothing to do with people living longer. There are now TWO taxpayers in nearly every household where there used to be only one, and there were no assets or income tests back in the day, so pension costs HAVE NOT RISEN. And even if they had, they are still HALF those in other developed nations and HIGHLY AFFORDABLE, representing less than 4% of GDP.

    Raising the retirement age will increase unemployment and reduce productivity. Acknowledging a comfortable and enjoyable retirement is a strong incentive for work and responsible living would reduce the costs of pensions dramatically and drive major increases in productivity across the board. We need to recognize that pensions are NOT a cost burden. They are a sensible investment in social and economic health and the maintenance of a capitalist society, and the current stupid attitude is a major cause of continuing economic and social problems.

    5th Jan 2018
    8:30pm
    I recall seeing a will where the deceased had left his brother his best wishes. I asked the solicitor what the point of that statement was and he told me that it stopped a person challenging a will on the basis that they had been forgotten. Families are not always as they are portrayed in the movies and anyone should have the right to leave their assets to whomever they choose. We may not agree with that statement but we should respect the person's wishes.
    Sundays
    5th Jan 2018
    9:06pm
    I have a friend whose mother left her nothing in the Will. Her brother and sister never understood the mothers dislike of their sister and shared their share with her. In this instance the mothers wishes were overridden and It was the best outcome for those left behind
    Kathleen
    5th Jan 2018
    9:15pm
    The reason for not omitting anyone from your will is to prevent problems for the ones you do name to inherit your worldly goods. Some individuals become very nasty over wills and the safest way to protect the ones you really want to acknowledge is to also include the problem ones. It just shuts them up.
    Anonymous
    6th Jan 2018
    10:26am
    No, GrandmaKathleen22, it doesn't. The law gives them a loaded gun to just claim more.
    LiveItUp
    7th Jan 2018
    5:00pm
    Yes it shuts them up Rainey as they can't claim they were forgotten about in the will.
    Anonymous
    8th Jan 2018
    2:13pm
    No, Bonny. They just claim they didn't get enough. It does NOTHING to stop claims. Those who are inclined to make claims are never satisfied.

    6th Jan 2018
    10:25am
    In reply to Madge, depends which state you live in but in NSW (and some others) if your daughter is discontent with the share you leave her, she will be given a loaded gun to hold at the head of the executor(s) to demand more, and unless the executor yields to her demand - however unfair - greedy lawyers will take a massive chunk of your estate. No matter what the outcome, the intended beneficiaries will lose heavily. If it's not a large estate, the stated criteria for determining a claim will be totally irrelevant because of the costs of presenting testimony and evidence, so it will become a disgusting contest of means. He who has the least, or can APPEAR to have the least (however dishonestly) will get the prize. Anyone you wanted to benefit who has worked hard and saved well and is honest and responsible will be severely punished.

    I know of a case where a daughter who hadn't spoken to her father in 30 years, while her brother and his wife nursed him through 30 years of disability and substantially financially supported him, walked into court and said ''I'm a drug addict. I'm needy'' and got 75%. The lawyers took most of the rest!

    I've also seen a case where an alcoholic got his mother's house because he'd lived in it and bludged, while drinking himself stupid and abusing her, for 20 years. He ''needed'' to keep his home. So his hard working siblings got virtually nil.

    Another case I know of, a ''cripple'' (who was photographed dancing and running marathons) who had inherited $1 million USD from another relative, but hid it in a US bank, was granted a huge share of the estate of a mother she abused, stole from, and abandoned. She was indulged by the courts because she ''needed'' a house, and the named beneficiary already had one (one he'd worked hard and gone without for 25 years to pay for!)
    She had lifetime entitlement to public housing and a perfectly suitable unit she'd lived in for years. The house she ''needed'' was an ocean-view mansion in which she could live with her lesbian lover, who would be classified (dishonestly) as a ''carer'' so they could collect, between them, more than twice the pension they were legally entitled to.

    In not one of these cases was ANY criteria considered other than the declared assets of the respective beneficiaries and claimant. And in every case, over 1/3rd of the estate went to the lawyers.

    Sorry to distress you, Madge. But you might as well know the facts. Lawyers love the system because it makes them rich. They will NEVER tell you the truth about how it really works. Consult a good lawyer for advice on Testamentary Trusts. That may allow you to leave your estate to those you wish to benefit. But beware of anyone who says they are costly. They are NOT if you get an ethical lawyer.
    LiveItUp
    7th Jan 2018
    10:29am
    99.9% of estates get settled according the the wishes of a person's will.
    Anonymous
    7th Jan 2018
    3:18pm
    No they DO NOT. Not those that are challenged anyway. Almost EVERY challenge in NSW results in the will being overturned. But the fact that they are settled (because the system holds a gun to the executors head and extorts an offer!) leads liars to claim the wishes of the deceased were upheld.
    LiveItUp
    7th Jan 2018
    4:58pm
    I don't of anyone personally who has ever challenged a will. Maybe it is a reflection of the people in my family and those I associate with.
    Anonymous
    8th Jan 2018
    2:06pm
    Maybe it shows how ill-informed and grossly ignorant you are of social and economic conditions that you claim to be so knowledgeable about.
    ex PS
    6th Jan 2018
    8:39pm
    Just make a will, I buried two parents who had left no wills, on top of the grief of losing them, the family had to deal with not knowing how our parents wanted their effects to be dealt with.

    7th Jan 2018
    8:53am
    Frankly, though I don't support death tax on modest estates, I'd rather see estates go to the government than to overpaid bottom-feeding lawyers who assist greedy unconscionables to attack executors and named beneficiaries demanding more than their fair share of what a loved one left behind.

    The current Family Provisions Act is an utter disgrace - or rather, the way it's implement is. It's exacerbating grief, ripping families apart, destroying friendships, and is totally disrespectful to people who have very sound reasons for the way they chose to have their estate distributed and who SHOULD have been allowed to dictate where the money THEY worked for and saved went after their death.
    LiveItUp
    7th Jan 2018
    10:28am
    Only one thing to do then and that is to die with nothing having distributed everything before your death. Nothing to feed the lawyers and nothing for the disgruntled or gold digging relative to get either.
    Anonymous
    7th Jan 2018
    3:16pm
    That's a cop-out solution if ever I heard one, Bonny! I'd much rather speak out in support of reform that BENEFITS people and gives them the freedom and rights this nation PURPORTS to offer.
    LiveItUp
    7th Jan 2018
    4:56pm
    I think it is an awesome idea as I get to enjoy giving everything away myself.
    Anonymous
    8th Jan 2018
    1:58pm
    If you give it away less than 3 years before death, it's taken as a will bequest and can be challenged in the same way. Since few know when they will die 3 years in advance and most can't afford to give it all away with no idea how long they have to live, you are discriminating (again) against anyone who isn't privileged, rather than standing up for what is right and beneficial to society. Sad!