What is 'moral obligation' when writing a will?

Published 28 Jan 2015

Author: David Cossalter

Writing a will can be a complex task, particularly if you have a large family or a lot of assets to take into consideration.

Anyone who makes a will, known as a testator, must put significant thought into how they want their estate to be divided upon their death. Specifically, individuals need to assess their moral obligation to certain people.

When a testator fails to financially provide for those to whom they have a moral obligation, there is a much higher chance of a successful family provision claim being pursued.

If you're deciding whether or not you should contest a will, one of the first steps to take is to assess if the deceased had a moral obligation to provide for you.

Who should be included in a will?

There are several individuals who testators are typically expected to include when undertaking estate planning processes.

Spouses and children are usually the first to be considered, which includes de-facto partners and any kids that are the result of de-facto relationships.

In some cases, it can also be argued that the deceased had a moral obligation to provide for grandchildren. This is particularly true if the grandchild lived with the testator or was dependant on them.

Similarly, anyone who was a part of the deceased's household when they died could pursue a family provision claim.

When making a decision, the courts will consider the claimant's financial situation, education and earning capacity among other issues.

Will I be successful in my family provision claim?

Every family provision claim has unique factors that could affect the final outcome, so it's difficult to predict whether or not a specific case will be successful.

For example, the courts are less likely to rule that a testator had a moral obligation to you if you were estranged from the deceased for a considerable amount of time before their death.

However, this does not prevent you from making a claim, and there is still every chance you could be entitled to a share of a loved one's assets.

To help start the process of filing a family provision claim, contact an experienced contesting wills lawyer who can take you through the necessary steps.

A no-win, no-fees firm can give you access to the relevant information and proceed with your case without charging you until a successful verdict is reached.

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