The Importance of Having a Will in Place

Often when we mention to a person the importance of having a valid will in place they will say to us, “that’s a bit morbid” or, “I’m far too young for that”. However we can’t stress enough that it’s vital to have a will in place.

This is due to the fact that without a will to set out your wishes and how you would like your assets and belongings dealt with following your death, then your estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy instead.

What this means is that rather than your estate being distributed to those you care most about, or a cause that is important to you, it will instead be distributed according to a specific hierarchy that these rules of intestacy dictate. This hierarchy is applied strictly to every person, no matter what their personal circumstances were and do not take into account a person’s wishes in any form.

A few examples from these rules of intestacy include:

  • Where a person is survived by a legal spouse (including where the couple have separated, but not divorced) and there are no children, then the surviving spouse will receive 100% of the estate.
  • Where a person has no spouse and no children (for example, a young adult), then the parents of that person are each entitled to half of the estate, regardless of the relationship that existed, or did not exist, between the person and their parents.

The rules of intestacy can also apply partially to an estate, where one or more assets have not been properly dealt with by a will.

As you can see from the above examples the rules of intestacy may not deal with an estate in accordance with a person’s wishes, but this is how the law will treat an estate where a person does not have a valid will in place.

If you would like more assistance with preparing your will contact Icon Legal on 07 3399 6006, or email enquire@iconlegal.com.au.

Conveyancing tips – changes to Queensland property laws

On Monday 1 December 2014, the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act 2000 (PAMDA) was repealed and the following four new pieces of Queensland legislation came into force:

  • Property Occupations Act 2014
  • Motor Dealers and Chattel Auctioneers Act 2014
  • Debt Collectors (Field Agents and Collection Agents) Act 2014
  • Agents Financial Administration Act 2014

PAMDA continues to apply to relevant contracts entered into prior to 1 December.

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland released new contracts to comply with the new laws, and the new form of contract must be used for any new contract entered into.

Aside from some practical tidying up of the contract and giving it a cleaner look, there are some changes that are relevant to agents and parties buying or selling property as follows:

  1. Changes to relevant forms:
  • Form 30C Warning Statement no longer exists for residential property contracts. The contract itself now contains the warning about obtaining legal advice and an independent valuation.  It also advises that a statutory cooling off period applies.
  • Form 14 Information Sheet for the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 is no longer required to be attached.
  • Form 32a lawyer’s certificate has been abolished. A buyer can now waive or shorten the statutory cooling off period with written notice to the seller.
  1. Failure to comply with technical requirements are no longer an avenue for a buyer to terminate a contract or seek compensation. Instead, a breach of the new legislation may result in a fine from the government for $22,000 for an individual and $110,000 for a corporation.
  1. The requirement of giving notice to a buyer for vacant land that cannot be lawfully used for residential purposes has been removed (where previously a buyer could terminate a contract for failure to disclose this).
  1. Finally, a practical change allowing notices under the contract to be sent by email is a welcome change.

The new contracts have also tightened up the requirements for them to be completed more fully and accurately.  An example is that it will no longer be acceptable to insert words such as ‘refer to title’ or similar in the encumbrances section.  All title encumbrances must be accurately stated in the contract.

Above are some of the main changes, but many others have also come in effect.  If you would like to find out more, please don’t hesitate to contact us.