For your Family's Sake Don't Die Without a Will
Making sure you have a valid and up-to-date Will doesn’t only ensure your estate is distributed according to your wishes when you die. As the RMB Wills and Estates division writes, it is also a service to your loved ones.
The employment law dispute between Rugby Australia and Israel Folau has dominated media headlines for months now.
You would be forgiven for being confused about the case. Shock jocks are protesting religious freedoms and protection of free speech, whilst others are campaigning for the protection of minority groups from discrimination.
So what are the real issues?
In 2018, Folau posted comments concerning his views of homosexuals (among other groups) as specifically relates to his religion. Huge fallout followed, with Rugby Australia and sponsors faced with a backlash from the sport’s supporters and the wider community.
Rugby Australia was able to reconcile with Folau, who was cautioned over such behaviour in the future. Folau’s contract was renewed in 2018, specifically referencing the use of social media. Policies were also implemented to avoid a repeat of the circumstances.
Approximately 12 months later, Folou made a second social media post conveying virtually the same message as before.
Despite previous warnings and Rugby Australia’s attempts to resolve the issue quickly, Folau stood by his comments and showed no contrition.
Ultimately, Folau was terminated for breach of his contract.
But was Folau’s use (or misuse) of social media sufficient to warrant his dismissal? In dealing with that question, the Courts and Tribunals have typically looked at the following factors:
- If you are estranged from one of your children and pass away with no surviving spouse, your assets will be distributed equally between your children, including the child from whom you are estranged.
- If you are separated from your partner but do not get divorced before you pass away, all your assets will pass to your ex-partner.
- If you pass away leaving children from a previous relationship and a new spouse, all your assets may pass to your new spouse (there are exceptions to this in some circumstances).
In the absence of a Will and depending on the nature and value of your assets, someone - usually the person with the greatest claim on your estate - may be required to make an application to the Supreme Court to be appointed as an administrator in order to be able to deal with your estate.
This can be a costly, time consuming and a difficult process for the applicant.
Having a Will allows you to decide how your assets are distributed upon your death, gives you the freedom to name an executor to deal with your estate and a guardian for any minor children, and assists with the efficient administration of your estate.
At RMB, we have lawyers who are experts in drawing up Wills that are appropriate for all your circumstances, so that your estate can be distributed according to your wishes. If you have a questions or need to create a will or simply update, please contact us. We'll be able to help you via a quick phone call, or ask us a question via email.