Victorians Urged To Keep Wills Updated To Avoid Estate Conflicts

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20th January 2010, 07:42pm - Views: 877

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20 January 2010


State Trustees is urging Victorians to take full consideration of their personal circumstances when

writing their Will to ensure it addresses potential challenges that may arise through estrangement,

divorce or the financial needs of those close to them.  

The call to action from State Trustees, Victoria’s government-owned trustee company, follows media

reports of a dispute arising over the estate of terminally ill US actor Dennis Hopper, which is currently

being played out publicly by the actor and his estranged wife.

Tony Fitzgerald, Managing Director of State Trustees, said today the case was probably typical of

thousands of Victorians who would be thinking that either it couldn’t happen to them or they had no

possessions people would want.  

“While many people rarely stop to think about how their estate will be managed after they die, the

unfortunate reality is that without having a clearly expressed and up-to-date Will, there is greater

potential for conflict to arise in relation to administration of your estate,” Mr Fitzgerald said. 

State Trustees’ statistics show that 25 per cent of estates administered throw up some sort of legal

issue, often because instructions are either out-of-date, poorly expressed, or do not encompass all

personal matters that could be relevant.

“Naturally, none of us wants to think too much about our death, but by investing as little as two hours

to outline or formally review our wishes for what should happen in this event, we can help prevent

additional strain and heartache at such a harrowing time,” he said.

“If you are eighteen or over, and have an income, we recommend you create a Will and update it at

key life events - like marriage, birth of a child or grandchild, purchase of property, divorce or

separation,” Mr Fitzgerald said.  

“You should also take full consideration of your personal circumstances when writing your Will and

ensure it addresses potential challenges that may arise through estrangement, divorce or the financial

needs of those close to you (or those who think you should provide for them). This way you have the

best possible chance of preventing a dispute and having your wishes met,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

Given the complexity, Mr Fitzgerald also suggested that your wishes are less likely to be frustrated if

your Will is drafted by an experienced Will writing professional.

To help prevent additional personal disputes in the administration of an estate, Mr Fitzgerald also

encouraged people to consider engaging an independent executor to administer their estate.

“While many think it is an honour to bestow on friends and family, the reality is that executorship is a

complex and often burdensome responsibility.  By having an impartial, professional party who is

familiar with all the legal, taxation and probate requirements of administering an estate, people can

help ease the burden and personal liability upon loved ones at a time of such distress,” Mr Fitzgerald


For advice on estate planning and executorships Victorians can contact State Trustees on 03) 9667

6444.  State Trustees contact: Sonja Viduka Media Advisor, Corporate Relations and Marketing

State Trustees - Trusted Partner | 168 Exhibition Street, Melbourne | 03 9667 2856| 0417 382 303


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