Topic: Wills and Estates Write up a will & covering letter

The assessment task involves the following:

1. Drafting a will that accurately gives effect to the testator’s instructions; and
2. Drafting a covering letter to the client, advising of any potential legal issues the testator should be aware of, and providing directions as to the execution of the will in the (unlikely) event that you will not be present when the will is signed.

Guidelines:

1. The use of plain English rather than technical legalese is preferred. This is consistent with current practice.
2. Do not use schedules.
3. Disregard any family provision or taxation implications that may arise in this assessment.
4. Footnotes are not required. They may be used in the letter of advice, however in that case the footnotes are to be included in the stipulated word length.
5. Creation of a firm letterhead for the purposes of the letter of advice should not be include in the word count.
6. The execution clause will be checked for accuracy but should not be included in the word count.
7. No bibliography is required.
8. Failure to attach a completed cover sheet to the assignment will incur an automatic penalty of 1 mark.

Word length:

2,500 words in total. You may extend to 2550 words but markers will stop marking the assignment at 2550 words.

Facts:

Bryan Halloran is 49 years’ old. He has been divorced for four years. He has just realised that his current will is one he drafted many years ago, just after his marriage. It still includes his ex-wife Simone as sole beneficiary.

Simone is about to get re-married to Dave, a man Bryan does not like at all. Dave has three young children whom Bryan also does not like. Bryan was horrified when he found his old will recently and realised that if he died now, Simone would inherit everything. Dave and his children would then likely get some of Bryan’s money by default. This is why he has come to you.

Bryan is a heavy machinery operator and lives at 325 Creek Street, Ballina, 2493.

He has two children with Simone, 11-year-old James and 15-year-old Zoe. Contact is shared equally between him and Simone. Bryan pays no maintenance.

He currently rents and owns no real estate property. He does have $300,000 in an investment account. There is also $50,000 in another account in his name, but this money was given to him by his mother, on the promise that it would be given to her grandchildren when they turned 18. This is an informal arrangement that nobody knows about yet, except Bryan and his mother. Bryan fully intends to honour this promise.

Bryan currently has a credit card debt of about $5,500, but no other debts. He estimates his personal possessions are worth about $10,000 all up. He also owns an old Landcruiser worth an additional $12,500, and a vintage MG sportscar which is worth $15,000

Another lawyer in your firm, Arnand Kumar, has agreed to be the executor of the estate, at Bryan’s request. You have confirmed this with Arnand.

Bryan also has a superannuation fund currently worth $275,000 with a defined death benefit. The fund requires the policy holder to nominate specific beneficiaries to whom the benefit should be paid, and their specific shares. Bryan has nominated James and Zoe as the only beneficiaries in equal shares.

Bryan used to be a smoker but gave up when he had a cancer scare five years ago. He had an operation at the time to remove a life-threatening throat cancer, and it has not returned since then.

He was also in a nasty car accident two years ago, and whilst he has recovered physically, he has ongoing Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD).

Bryan’s instructions are as follows:

Bryan wants everything left to his children in equal shares, with the exception of a bequest of $20,000 to the Big Scrub Rainforest Centre.

If either of his children die before him, the surviving sibling should get everything unless the deceased child already has kids of their own, in which case those kids get the deceased child’s share.

If both his children predecease him then his entire estate should go the Rainforest Centre.

If Simone dies while Bryan is still living then Bryan wants his sister, Maureen Birtles, to be the children’s guardian.

If Bryan dies while either or both of his children are still minors, he accepts that Simone should be allowed to access money from Bryan’s estate to look after them, however he wants to make sure that the executor controls that money, and that Simone has to justify, in writing, every cent she is claiming.

Bryan further insists that he wants a provision in the will which clearly states that Simone is to receive no benefit from the will herself.

Bryan is worried that Simone might challenge the will because of the drugs he takes to control the symptoms of his PTSD. Bryan shows you a letter from a psychologist confirming that Bryan is on medication, but that it does not interfere with his capacity to function and make decisions. He asks your advice and you say you’ll get back to him. In every respect Bryan appears to you to be lucid, thoughtful, and able to make decisions.

Bryan also asks about his vintage MG sportscar. It’s sitting in his garage with a cover on it, unused. It’s not currently roadworthy. Five years ago when he had his cancer scare, he gave the keys to his old business partner, Stocky, and said, ‘I want you to have my MG when I die. All you have to do is fix it up, and it’s yours.’ There were several witnesses to this. Bryan still wants Stocky to have the MG when he dies, but he wonders if there is anything more he needs to do.

Lastly Bryan wants to be cremated, with the estate paying for the funeral. He wants the funeral to be held at sunset on Lighthouse Beach at Ballina, close to the North Wall, and he wants his ashes to be scattered into the ocean from the North Wall.

Type of service: Academic paper writing

Type of assignment: Writing from scratch

Subject: law

Pages / words: 5 / 1400

Number of sources: 2

Academic level: Undergraduate

Paper format: APA

Line spacing: Double

Language style: US English

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