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Consequences (to your family) for not making a Will


“…George’s family then found out there was no will, and as his second marriage revoked his will, he died intestate…”

George, a business operator, made a Will during the early part of his first marriage. The Will left his assets to his wife and if she died before him, to any of his children equally. At the time of making the Will, he had no children and believed that the Will would suit his purposes for a long time.

In time, his circumstances changed considerably. George had three children, two sons, and a daughter. The eldest son Jack, showed an aptitude for business, and George wanted Jack to take over the family business. Jack worked in the business long hours without pay, or little reward anticipating that he would take over the business. Jack gave up various business opportunities to help run the family business.

As George accumulated other assets, the family accepted that Jack would receive the family business and the other children would receive a share of the other assets. However, George failed to make any formal arrangements to ensure that his wishes and plans were incorporated in a new Will despite his first marriage breaking down, his re-marriage, second divorce and his three children all-marrying and having their own children. George suddenly developed a heart disease and died.

The three children had been under the impression that there was a Will, who provided for them in the manner that George had discussed with them, in particular, the giving of the family business to Jack.

George’s family then found out there was no new Will and as his second marriage revoked the original Will, he died intestate (i.e., without a Will), and George’s whole Estate according to law, would be divided equally between the three children. Although the two brothers were prepared to adjust their interests to comply with George’s wishes, the daughter influenced by her husband, wanted to keep a full one-third interest in the Estate without taking into account Jack’s promised entitlement.

George’s failure to properly implement his wishes and family agreement in a Will forced Jack to take his sister to Court seeking his entitlement and to prevent the business being broken up. The ensuing litigation split the family and cost the Estate a considerable amount of money.

In order to fund the litigation and payout his sister, Jack now has a mortgage, which he would not have had, if his Father had prepared a Will when circumstances changed.


Behan Legal advises and assists clients on these important issues. For an appointment, call 03 9646 0344 .

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