Probate and Your Loved Ones in NSW
If you’re looking after a loved one, good Probate makes things much easier at difficult times!
Looking after a loved one can be emotionally consuming. The last thing that you need to worry about at this time is what will happen after your loved one is gone.
One way to make this easier is to ensure that your loved one has their affairs in order and this includes having a valid Will, that can be granted Probate without any legal issues.
Probate is the process that occurs after a person dies when their Will is submitted to the New South Wales Supreme Court, to be approved and registered. Once the Court has granted Probate to a Will, the Executor named in the Will is able to commence administering the deceased’s Estate, in accordance with their wishes as set out in their Will. This includes paying the debts of the deceased and gathering in the assets of the deceased to distribute to the beneficiaries named in the Will.
Unfortunately, there are many examples where Probate has become an issue and the issue of Probate has led to parties having to commence court proceedings at a difficult time.
In Dickman v Holley; Estate of Simpson  NSWSC 18 the Court provided resolution of a dispute involving the deceased Vera Simpson. Vera died in 2005 aged 102. At the time of her death she was a resident in a Salvation Aged Care Facility and in her 1999 Will she appointed a Director of that facility as her Executor and left the whole of her Estate to the Salvation Army for the use and benefit of the Aged Care Facility. The Court made a Grant of Probate for this Will in 2006.
A friend of the deceased, Mr Dickman, made an application to the Court for the Grant of Probate of the 1999 Will to be revoked and a Grant of Probate made over an earlier 1998 Will in which the deceased had named him as Executor and left the whole of her Estate to him.
The value of the Estate was estimated at approximately $700,000, which consisted mainly of a residential property that had already been sold by the Executor with the proceeds of the sale paid to the Salvation Army in 2006.
Mr Dickman alleged that the deceased lacked testamentary capacity at the time she made the 1999 Will and that she was under undue influence at the time. He also alleged that the deceased had represented to him on a number of occasions that if he visited her and assisted her then he would receive the whole of her Estate.
The Court considered the long time relationship between the deceased (who had no children) and Mr Dickman as well as the circumstances surrounding the deceased signing the 1999 Will as well as the 1998 Will. The Court found that the deceased lacked testamentary capacity in relation to the 1999 Will and granted Probate to Mr Dickman for the 1998 Will. The Court also ordered that the Executor from the Salvation Army reimburse the Estate for monies already distributed under the 1999 Will.
Despite the positive outcome for Mr Dickman it is important to remember that it required a court hearing and additional emotional and financial stress to resolve the Probate issue.
To avoid Probate issues seek expert legal advice from an experienced Probate Lawyer to ensure that you don’t have the added stress of having to deal with a Probate dispute at a difficult time.
Sydney Probate lawyers principal Graeme Heckenberg, has over 25 years experience, in Probate Law.
Call today for an appointment to discuss your probate needs on 9221 2779 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Offices conveniently situated close to public transport and centrally located in Sydney CBD.