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Recent (July 2019) front-page news informs us that Bob Hawke’s daughter is to sue Bob’s surviving wife, Blanche d’Alpuget, over his Will.

Comments on social media are always very quick to follow such articles with: “Why bother make a Will if it can be contested?”

These comments are followed by many an armchair lawyer’s advice on how to make a claim proof estate.

However, put in context – in NSW, there are an average of 26,000 applications for probate each year – the process of ‘proving’ a valid Will.

Of that number, there are an average of 1,000 family provision claims filed each year in the Supreme Court of NSW.

That’s a 96% chance a Will won’t be contested.

Further, most of the litigated claims resolve between the parties, and less than 5% of that 1,000 ultimately lead to a Court decision, meaning that only a small fraction “end up in Court” – so less than about 0.2% of all Wills made lead to a court judgment.

Many cases resolve between the parties to avoid media coverage, as may be the outcome regarding Bob Hawke’s estate, as if the court determines the case, a public judgment is published, available for anyone to see.

So – that’s why you should bother making a will.

The chances of it being contested (>4%) are vastly less than it not being contested (<96%).

If you have any queries or would like advice specific to your circumstances, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Turnbull Hill Lawyers, and specifically Adrian Corbould and Mary Windeyer, have been named in the prestigious 2022 Doyles Guide. Both were also listed in the 2021, 2020, 2019 and 2018 guides.

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