What can Game of Thrones teach us about Wills?

Published 26 Apr 2019

People all over the world are settling in to watch the long-awaited final season of Game of Thrones. As the eight season epic nears to a resolution, we can’t help but wonder whether the battle for the Iron Throne could have been solved earlier with proper estate planning.

Here, we look at three things Game of Thrones can teach you about estate planning, and why you need a non-ambiguous Will – for those who haven’t watched the show, warning, spoilers ahead!

Look after your children

One of the main reasons that people draft Wills is to ensure that their loved ones are looked after in the event of their death. In the case of Ned Stark, however, his failure to outline a specific financial plan or trust for his offspring meant that they were left in precarious situations for much of the show’s duration, including Sansa being held captive by House Lannister.

Appoint a testamentary guardian

Another way of ensuring that your children are to be taken care of after your passing is to appoint a testamentary guardian. This person is responsible for the care and advancement of your children, under the Guardianship of Infants Act 1916 (NSW). The duties of a testamentary guardian generally come into effect when the last surviving parent passes, and they’ll carry out tasks such as:

  • Making decisions on education for the minor.
  • Representing the minor in key decision making and court proceedings.
  • Caring for the minor, including housing them.
  • Running a testamentary trust.

In Game of Thrones, Brienne of Tarth is asked by Lady Catelyn Stark to protect her daughters, however, this isn’t made clear in writing. This lack of documentation creates a volatile situation when Brienne encounters Arya Stark and The Hound in Season 4, resulting in a fight between the two over who should be looking after Arya.

Make heirs clear

The fate of Westeros could have been determined much easier had Robert Baratheon made his intentions clear when outlining his intentions for succession. In Game of Thrones, heirs and beneficiaries aren’t always black and white as there are plenty of secret love-children dotted around the Seven Kingdoms. Writing beneficiaries by name helps in ensuring that the lines of communication aren’t crossed, and that your estate can be divided exactly as you intend it to be.

At Gerard Malouf & Partners Will Disputes Lawyers, we understand estate planning inside and out. If you need assistance with disputing a Will, get in touch with our expert team for a 90-day complimentary trial of services.

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