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Adrian: Crisp orders. No, not these type of crisp orders. I’m talking about family provision Crisp orders. Hello, I’m Adrian Corbould, Accredited Specialist, Wills & Estates at Turnbull Hill Lawyers with the Battle of Wills series where I talk about contested wills and estates generally.

As we’ve discussed, freedom of testamentary disposition means you can make your will however you like. However, if you have people like spouse and children, generally there’s an obligation to consider making provision for them. With blended families, that’s a situation where there are non-nuclear families, as in there’s children from prior relationships, there might be multiple marriages throughout someone’s life.

There can be a conflict by the willmaker as in to who they leave their assets to. They might want to leave everything to the children of their first marriage or they might want to leave everything to their surviving spouse. They might try to compromise that by spreading it evenly between everyone. It’s very difficult. Where there’s a property involved, often a willmaker will leave a life estate to their surviving spouse. Meaning that that surviving spouse can live in that property until they die or until they vacate the property.

That may cause trouble when that spouse gets older and they need to downsize or move to an aged care facility or nursing home. Once they leave, the asset goes back to the estate, likely to the children of the first marriage if that’s what the will says. In situations like that, a Crisp order may be ordered by a court to give that surviving spouse the comfort of knowing that they can live in that property as long as they like, but if they need to downsize to go to a nursing home, that asset can be sold and the proceeds of that can be used to buy into a nursing home or an aged care facility. Once they die, those assets then go back to the estate, so there’s been no actual detriment to the surviving spouse.

So, Crisp order is a family provision order where someone gets the benefit of living in a property throughout their life. If they have to move, it can be sold and the proceeds of that asset can be used to fund another property more suitable, go to a nursing home, aged care facility, and yet on their death, all the proceeds go back into the estate and distributed to the intended beneficiaries.

I hope that’s been of interest to you. Talk again next time.

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