“If I leave someone $1 under my Will, then they can’t make a claim against my Estate”.  This is a common misconception that is often encountered in the estate planning process for clients who wish to take all possible steps to ensure that a claim won’t be made against their deceased estate.

The Succession Act 1981 (Qld) provides, at Part 4, that the Court may consider an application made by a spouse, child (including stepchild or adopted child) or dependent where the deceased has not made adequate provision from the Estate for the claimant.  The Court will consider factors such as:-

  • The extent to which the claimant was being maintained and/or supported by the deceased;
  • The need for the continuance of such maintenance and/or support; and
  • The circumstances of the claimant and the Estate.

It is therefore not sufficient to leave a nominal gift for a potential beneficiary under your Will.  The Court’s consideration is not based on whether you have made any provision for the beneficiary, but rather that you have made adequate provision for the beneficiary.

If you are anticipating an Estate claim following your death, you should advise your lawyer of your concerns so that all necessary steps can be undertaken in the preparation of your Will and estate planning documents.  It may be appropriate to leave supporting estate planning documents setting out the circumstances under which you made your Will, and why you made provision for your beneficiaries (including, where appropriate, excluding beneficiaries).

The unfortunate reality is that there is no fail-safe method to prevent a claim against your Estate.  If you have concerns about a claim against your Estate, we strongly recommend discussing your concerns with our Estate Planning team to make sure that all appropriate steps are undertaken to ensure that your Estate Planning instruments are appropriately drafted to address and possibly pre-empt a potential claim.

Our Estate Planning team can be contacted on 07 5574 3560 or via email to caitlin@nautiluslaw.com.au.