Video will valid but comes with warn­ing

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - All copy pro­vided by Turner Free­man lawyers; turn­er­free­mannsw.com.au

THE NSW Supreme Court re­cently ac­cepted - for the first time - a video record­ing made by a dy­ing woman chang­ing key el­e­ments of a writ­ten will she had made just days ear­lier.

How­ever, the judge­ment con­tained a warn­ing for other peo­ple think­ing of mak­ing a video of their wishes rather than pro­duc­ing a prop­erly wit­nessed writ­ten will, not­ing that it had caused le­gal un­cer­tainty and de­layed the dis­tri­bu­tion of as­sets by sev­eral years.

The mat­ter in­volved an 85year-old widow who died in 2012. Sev­eral months be­fore her death, she made a for­mal writ­ten will in her so­lic­i­tor’s of­fice di­vid­ing her es­tate, worth al­most $1 mil­lion, among her eight chil­dren.

Ini­tially she wanted to leave a greater share to two of her daugh­ters who lived

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Tune in to the Chris Smith Af­ter­noon Show on 2GB on Tues­days from 1.30pm where a spe­cial­ist lawyer will be avail­able to take your calls. in NSW, as they had pro­vided ad­di­tional sup­port and as­sis­tance in re­cent years, how­ever one of them con­vinced her not to.

Two days later she changed her mind. Sit­ting in her kitchen, and as­sisted by the other daugh­ter who stood to re­ceive a larger share of the es­tate, she recorded a video out­lin­ing the changes.

She was warned the video might not be con­sid­ered a valid will but per­sisted, want­ing to make her in­ten­tions known di­rectly to her chil­dren fol­low­ing her death.

The court ad­mit­ted the video as an in­for­mal will, but only af­ter en­sur­ing there was no room for doubt that it was vol­un­tar­ily made, and there were no ob- jec­tions from any of the chil­dren who would re­ceive a smaller share of the es­tate.

While the de­ceased woman’s fi­nal wishes were even­tu­ally granted, the process of ob­tain­ing pro­bate — which was re­quired be­fore her as­sets could be dis­trib­uted - were much more time con­sum­ing and costly than needed to be the case.

Had she re­turned to her so­lic­i­tor’s of­fice and up­dated the writ­ten will, the process could have been com­pleted in as lit­tle as four to six weeks and re­moved grounds for dis­ap­pointed ben­e­fi­cia­ries to chal­lenge the va­lid­ity of the will.

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