Elder Law and Succession Planning

2015/16 Annual Report

The Elder Law and Succession Planning Committee’s particular areas of interest are:

  • power of attorney reform, including interstate mutual recognition
  • legislative progress in succession law
  • probate practice; and
  • the Family Provision Act 1972 (WA)

The Committee liaises with the Law Council of Australia National Elder Law and Succession Committee of which the Convenor is the national Chair, and with the Supreme Court of Western Australia Probate Committee on which a Committee member (currently the Convenor) represents the Law Society.

In the past year the Committee has made submissions to the Supreme Court Probate Committee in relation to the following:

  • delays being experienced with regard to the Probate Registry of the Supreme Court of Western Australia issuing Grants of Probate. As a consequence Justice Chaney has reinstituted the procedure under which a firm may on filing applications request email confirmation of a grant being made and then collect the grant in person;
  • difficulties regarding scanning and emailing certified copies of grants produced by the Court required for overseas financial transactions as the embossed seal was not apparent, resulting in queries from recipients. The Supreme Court Probate Committee resolved that the standard black Court stamp would be applied to the certified copy instead of the embossed seal; and
  • the request for clarification regarding applications for probate where the date of death on the death certificate is given as ‘found on’ in relation to the details required for requisitions. The Supreme Court Probate Committee provided guidance on death certificates providing ‘found on’ and ‘on or about’ dates.

The profession was advised of these developments via Friday Facts.

The Committee is conducting the following reviews:

  • a review of the Report of the Statutory Review of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1990, Department of the Attorney General, with a view on making further submissions on the recommendations in the Report; and
  • a review to extend Statutory Wills to minors.

The Committee’s contribution to the Law Society’s CPD programme included:

  • ‘Family Provision Act and wills disputes’ which incorporated discussion of the Mead v Lemon decision and how the risk of family provision might be minimised through careful estate planning; and
  • ‘Nature of evidence and presumptions in probate actions’ which examined presumptions or doctrines encountered in contentious and non-contentious succession cases.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au