Wills & Estates
Wills & Estates
We can assist you with all areas of Wills, estate planning, probate and estate administration. We offer out-of-office appointments and zoom conferences to discuss your needs at your convenience.
Do you have a current Will?
Did you know that changes in your personal circumstances such as separation, divorce, or the beginning of a new relationship could affect how your assets are distributed after you die?
If your financial position has changed or you have bought or sold property since making a Will, this could also impact the outcome of an existing Will?
The importance of having a Will cannot be understated and everybody over 18 years of age should consider making a Will.
What is a Will?
A valid Will is a legal document that appoints a person or persons (your executor/s) to manage your estate after you die. It identifies who should benefit from your estate (your beneficiaries) and how you would like your assets distributed. Your Will can also provide directions regarding funeral arrangements and appoint guardians for minor children.
A Will can be very simple or complex and may contain testamentary trusts. These are individual trusts that come into effect after you die and help protect assets and vulnerable beneficiaries.
Essentially, a Will assists in securing the financial future for your family, helps to protect your hard-earned assets, and lets you choose who should benefit from your estate.
Can I make my own Will?
While DIY Wills are readily available online, there is never a one-size-fits-all approach to preparing a Will and planning your estate. It is important to discuss your individual and family circumstances with a lawyer to avoid some of the common pitfalls associated with DYI Wills.
We have significant expertise in Wills and estate planning and can discuss ways to maximise your loved-ones’ inheritance, protect your assets, and minimise the potential for disputes and the making of family provision claims after you die.
Powers of Attorney
An accident, temporary illness or a permanent disability can strike at any time. Having a power of attorney can help minimise some of the suffering and anguish during this already-difficult time.
A power of attorney is a legal document authorising one or more trusted family members or friends to manage certain legal and financial matters on your behalf for convenience, or if you are unable to do so yourself. The scope of authority is set out in the document itself, which may be contained to a one-off transaction or apply for a range of matters.
There are different types of powers of attorney, so it is important to discuss your needs and circumstances to ensure that we can prepare the most appropriate and helpful document for your situation.
Appointment of Enduring Guardian
An enduring guardian is someone that you appoint to make personal or lifestyle decisions on your behalf such as accommodation, health and services, if you lose the capacity to make those decisions yourself. A guardian acts as a substitute decision-maker and may consent to certain medical and dental treatment and living arrangements. The appointment also authorises health care professionals to share your personal information with your guardian.
Obtaining a Grant of Probate
A grant of probate is a court order stating that the Will relied upon was the last valid Will prepared by a deceased person. It authorises the executor to deal with the deceased’s assets and administer the estate according to the terms of the Will.
A grant of probate may not always be needed, particularly for simple estates with modest assets. The requirement to obtain probate generally depends on the size and/or complexity of the estate, the type of assets held, and the requirements of the entities holding those assets. A grant of probate may also be recommended for estates that may be, or become, the subject of a dispute.
If you are the executor of an estate or have recently lost a loved one, we can advise whether or not probate is necessary (or recommended) and, if so, assist in preparing the necessary documents to file at the Supreme Court. We will guide you through all processes necessary to administer the estate and help you deal with third parties and beneficiaries.
Estate Planning – a final word
Even if you have a simple family structure and modest assets, there are many things to think about when planning your future. We take a holistic approach that considers not only how your assets are distributed after you die, but how your legal, financial and health affairs can be managed as you age.
We can help you:
- Prepare a Will that considers your personal and financial circumstances, helps protect assets and vulnerable beneficiaries, and distributes your estate in the most tax-effective manner.
- Choose appropriate executors and/or trustees to administer your estate/trusts.
- Plan for the unforeseen by preparing powers of attorney and appointments of enduring guardian so your financial and health affairs can be managed by somebody you trust and who understands your values if you are incapacitated.
- Prepare a business succession plan that ensures appropriate arrangements are in place for business and company interests.
- Minimise the potential for disputes and family provision claims.
If you or someone you know wants more information or needs help or advice, please contact us on:
France Booth (02) 9958 1994 or email [email protected]
Wendye Vince (02) 9550 9767 or email [email protected]