Rants: Zips, Tony Abbott, and wills

I feel like having a bit of a rant about a few things so if you don’t like that kind of thing then feel free to stop reading.

Zips. They’re always getting stuck. They seem to be very poorly made these days and they always get stuck, usually when you’re in a public changing room half-undressed and unable to get out of the dress you’ve just tried on. I’m sure this never used to happen as often. They’re just like modern toasters and kettles that stop working one day after the warranty expires.

Tony Abbott. There’s always something to rant about with Tony Abbott but I try to avoid reading anything about him so as not to get all worked up. But something was thrust in front of me this morning and I read it before realising. In 2013 Tony Abbott abolished the climate commission to save money and to avoid “duplication of services“. Here’s how much they saved:

“This decision will save the budget $580,000 in 2013-14 and an annual funding of up to $1.6 million in future years.”

Today I read that Tony Abbott is now going to give $4 million to Bjorn Lomborg to establish a consensus centre in Australia. Except that Bjorn Lomborg isn’t exactly on the same page as consensus scientists where climate change is concerned. He doesn’t deny that the climate is changing and that we are the cause, but unlike the majority of climate scientists, he doesn’t think we should do anything about it. He thinks the money would be better spent on other things like helping poor countries to become rich countries by giving them access to cheap fossil fuels. The problem with this is that while it might be better for us to spend the money on other things, like cheap fossil fuels, it is not better for people in the future who will inherit a problem which by then will be beyond repair. There’s a gross injustice of intergenerational ethics which he and people who call themselves “Skeptics” are prepared to overlook. What is also overlooked is that climate change is expected to hit poor countries the hardest.

The last thing I want to rant about are wills, as in last will and testament. Why is it possible to contest a will? If you write and sign a legal declaration in a sane state of mind before you die about what you’d like to happen to your assets, people should not have the right to change this. When we’re alive we are free to spend our money on whatever we want, provided we don’t break the law, of course. Why should it be any different once we’re dead? If someone wants to give all their money to the hooker living next door then that’s their choice entirely and no-one else should be able to take that away from them. What’s the point of having a will at all if what you decide can be changed, without your consent, after your death?

20 thoughts on “Rants: Zips, Tony Abbott, and wills

  1. I agree with your will rant.

    I have a friend whose father passed away recently and left his sizeable estate to his siblings, 3 daughters and a son. This seems reasonable. Right? Well, the son is contesting it on the shaky ground that he deserves more. It is costing the women a considerable amount in legal fees, not to mention the emotional stress.

    I hope this spurs further discussion.

    Do you know what i rant about. Single-ply toilet paper in public washrooms.

    1. That’s very sad. The only people to win in this scenario are the lawyers who get a cut of the inheritance. It shouldn’t be that way. I don’t think people should be allowed to contest a will except under very exceptional circumstances.

      And you just reminded me of another pet hate: public toilets without soap.

  2. I enjoy a good rant. I cannot speak for dress zips but when I read about Tony Abbott’s decision to fund the Borg I wanted to bite someone. What an utter tool the man is.

    As for wills, well, imagine someone leaving their estate to the hooker next door rather than their wife of 40 years. Sometimes things have to be challenged. IANL but I believe it’s very difficult and the reasons for the challenge have to stand up to considerable legal scrutiny. Perhaps we have a lawyer who can say more about this?

    1. But it’s still his choice to do whatever he wants with his money. No-one would take him to court for giving the hooker next door an expensive necklace while he’s alive. Why is it any different once he’s dead? Maybe his wife is a cow and the hooker has a heart of gold? But it really shouldn’t make any difference anyway since it’s not for us to decide.

      I think contesting wills is just a way for lawyers to get rich. They’re not going to turn it down as there’s a sure sum of money there and they’re the only ones who win. We shouldn’t allow people to contest them in the first place except under exceptional circumstances like wills which were signed under duress or when the person was not in a sound state of mind.

      1. Well, I would agree that contesting a will should be exceptional but given that exceptional circumstances do sometimes arise then there needs to be a legal framework for contesting wills. The unavoidable flow of fees into lawyers’ pockets is just one of those things, like death and taxes. Also, in the case where a will is unreasonable or flawed in some way and is successfully contested, then it’s arguable that the beneficiaries win too, not just the lawyers. This is odd; I never thought I’d find myself an apologist for the legal profession 😉

  3. Ah me, in England and Wales this is the basis of a challenge http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1975/63 When I was training this had just come out and we had a case of a husband wo left his wife £10,000 and the residue to his four children. The will had been written in the early sixties and this was 1980 – well out of date. All bar one child wanted to change it to provide for the wife. Because the one objector we had to go to court for an order. Later I came across a case where a messy divorce (which terminated all old wills) meant the new will penalised the old wife – who in the divorce settlement was dependent on support. The surviving wife’s lawyers sort an order. In the end to avoid costs the family agreed on a change when correspondence with the deceased’s brother showed he deliberately changed things as a penalty against his much loathe ex. There are many scenarios when dependants are left short because of a misunderstanding – a will terminates on marriage and divorce and has to be rewritten – we had cases of wills being signed during an engagement, the couple thinking it was valid and yet it had terminated. So, sorry, but we do need rules and there will therefore always be shyster lawyers and shyster clients out to misuse the legislation. I agree about zips though.

    1. Ok, I actually did not realise that if you are paying alimony to an ex wife that you are obligated to continue making payments to her after your death. Seems a bit unfair to me. But I understand that old wills are terminated on marriage and divorce. I think my husband and I need to get a will done in Scotland but I have to say that I wonder a bit at the point of it given that others can just contest it anyway.

      1. No the alimony doesn’t continue – I was summarising a complex case and looking back at what I wrote I can see the confusion. Suffice it to say the ex had responsibility for the children and they were losing out in her view. And the courts will only go against the testators wishes if the evidence is compelling. Defo get them done. Just keep reviewing them, that would be my advice, so they move as circumstances move.

  4. As I expect you know, Rachel, Scotland has a totally different legal system to England and Wales so no idea what happens in your neck of the woods but I would expect something similar.

    1. Yes, I’m not sure either but I’ll find out. I wasn’t really complaining because of anything happening to me personally. I’ve just always thought it incredibly bad form to contest a will. It’s not something I would ever dream of doing.

  5. I can empathise with your rant about Tony Abbott. When I saw that this Danish guy had been appointed to a so-called ‘consensus centre’ at WA Uni, I was livid. Just appalling but amazing also that the government could justify doing this at a time when it is proclaiming the need for budgetry constraint.

    The Australian government apparently doesn’t see much value in developing a renewable energies industry. Better to stick to fossil fuels and miss the boat in developing new technologies for the future. As clever countries are moving on, we’re still stuck in the fossil age, trying to rip the black stuff out of the ground as soon as possible so we can sell it before it’s worth nothing. Never mind the environment.

    Immoral. Backward-looking. Bad for everyone.

    1. Yes, I wanted to write more about Tony Abbott’s track record on science which is appalling and embarrassing. Innovation comes from spending on science research. This is where business of tomorrow will spring from. He’s throwing away Australia’s future and sending the country back to the dark ages. And giving money to Bjorn Lomborg is really just so he can provide an excuse for failing to do anything about climate change. Bjorn Lomborg will provide the excuse, weak though it is.

  6. Zips – and just about everything else – are poorly made these days and always breaking. My kettles last about a year and cease to work on eg Christmas Day!
    I agree on your Tony Abbott rant.
    And I believe you can add a rider to your will stating that if it is contested then no-one gets anything. That usually stops the bickering!
    But – it is Very important to have a will, because dying intestate definitely gives the lawyers lot of money, and you wait forever for the settlement.

    1. Oh dear. No kettle on Christmas day would be the worst! Yes, I agree it’s important to have a will. Although in some cases it might be better to give the people you love the money before you die, especially if you know your time is almost up, and then die with nothing. I quite like that idea.

      1. The recipients will be hit by capital gains tax (at least in the UK) if you do that. IIRC you have to live seven years after the date of the gift to avoid this.

      2. How much is capital gains tax? I’m not too bothered about that. Inheritance is taxed too isn’t it? I think it’s a good way to redistribute wealth a little bit.

  7. We wrote a will to protect our child in the event that we both die before he is 18. I would advise that you see a solicitor for advice but I would not hold off writing a will because you think someone may challenge it. If you die intestate, there will be all sorts of problems. Better to set it out in black and white and make it watertight. We appointed executors and trustees to ensure fair play if the worst happened and we were not around to deal with any nonsense.

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