Tips from Best Will and Probate Lawyers on Leaving Your Estate to Someone
How to leave your assets to someone who isn’t your family? Well, consulting with skilled wills and probate lawyers in Sydney can help you. Usually, most people leave their estate to their spouse, siblings or children. But that isn’t compulsory. It’s a common misconception that you can only leave your assets to someone from your family. You can choose whomever you want to leave your assets within your will (‘Freedom of Testation’). And that can be someone other than your family. You can leave your assets to a close friend if you want to. But you need to know that it’s difficult to do so, even if you have/haven’t got families.
So, how can you leave your assets to someone who isn’t your family? Well, let’s explore it in the following blog post.
Can you leave your estate to your friend or someone other than your family?
Even though Australian laws give the citizens ‘Freedom of Testation’ to choose their beneficiaries, there’ll be some restrictions. As per Part IV of the Administration and Probate Act, 1958, the will-maker won’t get the complete freedom to leave their estate to anyone they want.
The part defines ‘Family Provision’ as ensuring ‘proper maintenance’ of specific people who’re dependent on the will-maker. It usually comes into play when someone dies without a will or the drafted will fail to fulfil the obligations of the act.
So, does that mean you can’t leave your assets to your friend? YES, you can. If most of your family members accept your will, only a small portion of it can be contested. But if your family members are eligible to claim under the ‘Family Provision’ laws, they can contest it in court.
As per the rules of ‘Family Provision’ laws, everyone is free to give away their property by will to anyone if they want or not to make a will at all. But they must take the responsibility to provide ‘proper maintenance and support’ to some people, i.e., the family members.
So, how can you leave your assets to your friend or someone who isn’t your family?
Drafting a will is one of the hardest decisions where people need to consider their death. But it’s a must to make an estate plan to ensure that the assets are going to the right people. And if you’re planning to leave your estate to your friends or someone other than your family, you should draft a will beforehand. Here’re some facts that you should know beforehand,
i) Inheritance law doesn’t recognise automatic distributions of your assets to someone who isn’t your direct/immediate family. As per laws, it’ll go to the spouse and children followed by your parents, grandchildren and distant relatives. Even if you don’t have any family, the assets won’t directly go to your friends, rather they’ll go to the government. Hence, drafting a will is a must if you want your friends to get your estate.
ii) So, will your friends will get the estate if you mention them in your will? Well, no, as your family has the legal right to fight for the transfer of your assets. Thus, if you want to leave assets to your friends, you must do that when you’re alive. Gift your assets to your friends when you’re sane and able to make your own decisions.
iii) But how can you know about the end of your days to gift your belongings to your friends? Well, no one knows that. Thus, creating a testamentary paper mentioning how you want to leave your assets will be better. For that, you also have to choose someone as the executor of your will who’ll carry out your plans and fight on your behalf if the family members object.
Are you thinking of leaving your assets to someone who isn’t your family? Well, having pro wills and probate lawyers in Sydney by your side can help you. All you’ll have to do is they’re the right ones.