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Why you should see an experienced estate planning lawyer – The case for taking proper notes

With DIY Will-kits available at the newsagent and templates available on the internet, you might be fooled into thinking that making a Will is a simple process. This is not always true as the case of Re Oliver (deceased) [2016] QSC 264 shows us. In this case, it was the Public Trustee who erred when one of its solicitors did not take adequate notes when preparing a Will.

This case involved a challenge to the application for Probate of Mr Oliver’s Will (by one of his brothers) on the basis that he did not have capacity to make the Will.

On the surface, the Will appeared rational and a presumption of validity arose. However, when the Court scrutinised the notes of the solicitor who made the Will and the doctor consulted at the time, they were not sufficient to establish that Mr Olivier did have the requisite capacity to make his Will. It was therefore found that the document drawn up by the solicitor did not constitute a valid Will.

This case highlights the importance of having an experienced and capable legal practitioner who makes appropriate notes when drafting or altering your Will. The alternative is unnecessary legal fees for your loved ones and the possibility that your wishes might be completely ignored and your estate distributed in accordance with intestacy laws.

For further information and assistance on any estate planning or estate administration matter, please contact a member of our experienced Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning team at Bell Legal Group on (07) 5597 3366 or email Tracey Carroll.