Tuesday, October 31, 2017

(It has) access now - estate planning documents & family law cases **

As set out in earlier posts, and with thanks to the Television Education Network, today’s post considers the above mentioned topic in a ‘vidcast’ at the following link - https://youtu.be/GyqLtNpPv_8

As usual, an edited transcript of the presentation for those that cannot (or choose not) to view it is below –

A classic case study example is where there is a mum and dad with adult kids. The parents have set up their estate plan and one of the adult kids then goes through a relationship breakdown.

The type of argument that can be run by the estranged spouse is as follows –

‘I’ve got reason to believe that under the estate plan of my former in-laws that my ex-spouse will be getting a fair entitlement under their estate plan. So on that basis, I want to get access to the documentation that sets out how the estate plan works and I want to get access to how any family trust they may have is setup.

I also want to get access to all the distribution resolutions overtime. Even though none of this is a direct asset or something that is directly within the portfolio of my former spouse, it is all within the overall family unit, and therefore, I am entitled to get access to those documents.’

The case law in this type of situation is somewhat unclear. There are certainly cases to support the fact that parents’ estate planning documentation can be accessed.

Indeed, there are examples where in the actual trial, the parents-in-law are called into the courtroom, the doctors are called in, and there’s a medical assessment of how the mum and dad are tracking, and whether they are actually going to die anytime soon.

All of this is done to allow the court to put a monetary value on what a spouse’s entitlement might be out of their parents’ estate plan.

** for the trainspotters, ‘it has access now’ is a line from the At the Drive-In song ‘One Armed Scissor’, watch hear (sic) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NYbojdoAQE