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Understanding and Interpreting a Will


Expert Assistance in Interpreting Wills

If you are a beneficiary of an estate, or otherwise involved in an estate matter, we can help you communicate with the executor, whether the deceased person’s will is unclear about how the assets should be distributed. How to interpret a will, and what is meant by its wording, can be very confusing, particularly trying to understand the legalese. 


Navigating the Challenge of Legal Wording

Sometimes the wording or the phrases in a will are common legal phrases and can be easily explained. But other times, normally when the will has not been prepared properly, the wording of the clauses can be unclear and lead to disputes. 

For example, I had a matter where the deceased left a will, and the grandchild said that they interpreted a particular paragraph of the will to mean that he was to receive an equal share of the estate with his uncle and aunties. Our client, the executor, rejected this interpretation of the wording of the will and said the grandchild was not entitled to anything. 

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In these circumstances, the courts want evidence about what did the deceased person actually intend for their will to mean. As a result, we spoke to the solicitor that prepared the will. We got his file notes from when he prepared the will and obtained a statement from him. This evidence made clear that the deceased person did not intend to benefit the grandchild, and the court ultimately agreed. 


Additional Considerations for Will Interpretation

In other circumstances, the evidence the court will consider is other documents the deceased person wrote to support your interpretation of the will, oral statements the deceased person made to you or to others, or how they wanted their estate distributed on death. Sometimes, the ability to talk to, for example, family members in respect to how they think to interpret a will can be daunting, particularly when you are less confident than your sibling who may be the executor or the administrator of the estate.

If you’d like some legal advice about how to interpret the meaning of a will, please contact us today for a free initial assessment. Thank you.

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Need a Copy of a Will?

If you need a copy of a Will and/or are seeking legal advice, the team at O'Connor Rudy and Garrett can assist you. We will contact you to confirm additional details and then organise contacting the required parties to secure a copy of the Will for you.