Multiple Wills – Why People Do This and the Risks Involved

Multiple Wills - Why People Do This and the Risks Involved

Death is inevitable. The death of a loved one is always a tragic and stressful time for the family. One leading cause of stress for the family is taking care of everything you leave behind. That includes your assets, debts, properties, and more. This scenario can be avoided if everyone prepares a will.

A will enumerates how you want your property to be distributed. Without one, the distribution of your wealth may be left in disarray. What is worse is how these properties might not even end up to your family members and instead be grabbed by the state. 

However, there are also instances when some family members leaving not just one but two or more wills, thinking it would make things better and more precise, but in reality, it is the opposite. 

This article will tackle why multiple wills are sometimes made by clients and how the practice can make things harder rather than easier for the family.

Why People Decide to Create Multiple Wills

They Have Multiple Properties in Different Locations.

Before your assigned personal representative or executor receive the power to carry out your instructions for your properties in different locations, they first need to open a probate case.

What Is a Probate Case? 

The probate process is a proceeding supervised by the court to prove the authenticity of the will. It could also mean a general administration of the deceased person’s will or estate, should the person have no will in the first place. 

The probate case is different for every state. If you have properties in five other states, your representative would need to open a probate case for each one. Some property owners do not want that to happen, so they decide to create separate wills for different locations.

Options for Tax Treatment

Unfortunately, your properties are still subject to taxes even if you are already dead. Similar to probate cases, the tax treatment varies depending on the state. People try to avoid higher taxes rates by creating separate wills so the tax cost would be different for each property.

They Want to Supplement Their Existing Will

Some will owners who want to make additional instructions or make corrections to their original will fix it by creating a new one. They think it would be better to supplement the material instead of revising the existing.

The Risks of Having Multiple Wills

Although the intention is good, having multiple wills could confuse both the family and the court. They might think that the first one has been revoked. There is also a chance that some clauses might unintentionally contradict the first provision or, worse, cancel it. 

Moreover, instead of making things more manageable for them, the family might end up arguing about which one should be followed. At the same time, having multiple representatives could end up them confusing their duties and responsibilities. 

Lastly, the probate court might also ask for a special hearing just to see why they have received multiple probate cases under one person’s name, which can be another hassle for everyone involved.

Conclusion

While you might aim to help make things easier for everyone, creating multiple wills can possibly bring more problems. Instead of going this route, it would be better to take the safest, albeit challenging, course. You could also ask your lawyer for other alternatives, such as an international will, a trust, or owning properties as joint tenants. Check with your lawyer which other options are available and helpful for your case. 

Need help in wills and estate planning in Redland Bay? Bickel and Mackenzie is a law firm specialises in wills and estates administration, family law, and conveyancing. Let us take care of assisting your grieving relatives when the time comes. Contact us today at (07) 3206 8700 or info@bimalaw.com.au. 

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