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Making a Will in your senior years

Disputes between siblings about their inheritance are commonplace.  As a parent and a senior citizen you may be keen to reduce the likelihood of a dispute as best you can.

A recent case of Wehbe v Giotopoulos [2023] NSWSC 827 shows how easily disputes can give rise to expensive litigation.   A widow lived with her 3 sons and she relied heavily on one of those sons to make legal arrangements for her.  He obtained a Will kit, wrote out the Will for her and organised for witnesses to witness her signature.  The Will did not treat the mother’s children equally.  In fact, the mother made no provision in the Will for her 2 daughters.  The daughters argued that their mother was frail and vulnerable and suffering from poor health and was not able to read English and asked the Court to find that their mother did not know or approve of the contents of the Will.  The daughters were successful. 

A key issue for the Court was the part the son played in organising the Will.  This gave rise to suspicion about whether the mother understood what she had signed.  The dispute could have been easily avoided by ensuring that the mother received independent legal advice before signing her Will and for a solicitor to have drafted the Will on her instructions.

Our lawyers are available to assist you with advice about estate planning or in relation to disputes about Wills.

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