Children may be banned from contesting parents' wills

69
3
Children may be banned from contesting parents' wills

Under a proposed shake-up in Queensland's inheritance laws, adult children could be banned from contesting their parents' wills if the estate is worth less than $250,000.

If a spouse is still legally married to someone who has died, ex-partners may be exempted from automatic inheriting of the deceased's estate if no will has been left behind.

The potential changes have been raised in a new policy paper published by the Queensland government that floats a range of possible changes to the state's decades-old Succession Act, including capping costs when challenging a will.

Under current laws, children, stepchildren, dependents, and spouses are able to contest a will - known as making a family provision application.

The government is reportedly considering a rule change so children and stepchildren of the deceased are essentially banned from making an application if their estate is small and valued at less than $250,000.

Children with a disability, under 18 years of age, who are financially dependent on the deceased, or on a government pension, would still be allowed to contest a will.

The policy paper states that only children in need could make a claim for smaller estates, while acknowledging how the costs of challenging a will can decrease an estate's value.

The government also revealed that it is considering capping costs in family provision applications so that any awarded costs to be paid from the estate don't exceed a certain amount.

The government contends that the escalating costs of making applications is worrying, particularly for smaller estates.

The government has proposed changes to the way estate is divided if people leave no will behind.

In such cases, existing laws specify that a spouse would be entitled to a certain portion of the estate, and any children would also be entitled to a certain portion of the estate.

The government has suggested a change to what constitutes a spouse so that it no longer includes someone who is separated from the dead and has already reached a formal property settlement.

If an ex-partner who has never formally divorced from the dead will not be allowed to inherit a portion of the estate when there is no will, this would mean that they will not be allowed to inherit a portion of the estate.

If you have a will, you are in control.

Chloe Kopilovi, Queensland Law Society president, said the proposed change to the definition of a spouse was 'critical' and would bring the laws into the 21st century.

I chose not to file for divorce to avoid the extra costs.

Kopilovi said that setting up a will allowed someone to have direct control over how their estate was dealt with.

re putting yourself in the control seat by having a will, she said.

The succession laws were contemporary and effective for our current society, according to the Attorney-General Yvette D.

She added that D'Ath's comments were necessary for the minister to understand the evidence behind the riots.