Following our move to our new premises at 123 Sheridan Street, we confirm we are continuing to hold Wills and Enduring Powers of Attorney for our clients in our safe custody.
It is extremely important that Wills be stored safely, not only to prevent them from being lost or destroyed but also because there can be complications in the administration of an estate if a Will is written on after it is signed or if pins, paper clips or post-it notes are attached.
There can be problems obtaining probate of a Will if it appears to the Registrar from any mark or hole in the Will that another document may have been attached or if a Will has any signs of tampering or damage (for example, staple holes, rust marks etc.) This is because the existence of such marks suggests that perhaps a codicil or something similar was attached to the Will at some stage.
In one recent case, three hand written yellow post-it notes stuck on the front of a formal Will were recognised by the Queensland Supreme Court as a valid “informal” Will. The estate in question was worth in the order of $4 million. If the deceased had simply made a new Will, she would have saved her family much grief and expense.
Similarly, the safe storage of Enduring Powers of Attorney is important. An Enduring Power of Attorney is an extremely powerful document giving your attorney the power to access your bank accounts and even sell property. The original should be stored in a safe place and your attorney should know where it is located. If your Enduring Power of Attorney commences on incapacity, you should retain control over the original document until you lose capacity. There is no register of EPOAs in Queensland. However, if your attorney needs to sell real estate, then the original EPOA is required to be lodged for registration with the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy.
We recommend you review your Will and EPOA every twelve (12) months, or whenever the circumstances of a person mentioned in your Will or EPOA changes, for example:
- You change your name or anyone named in the Will or EPOA changes their name.
- If an executor or attorney dies or becomes unwilling or unsuitable to act due to ill-health, age or any other reason.
- If a beneficiary dies.
- If any specific property has been left to a specific beneficiary and you subsequently sell that property or it changes in nature.
- If the family situation of yourself or any beneficiary changes (eg marriage, divorce, matrimonial problems, children or further children, de facto relationships).
- If you become involved in a new business, company or trust.
For peace of mind regarding your Will, contact WGC Lawyers. We can assist you with any of your estate planning needs.