Family and Defacto Relationship Law
Wills & Estates
A Will is one of the most important documents that a person ever makes. It sets up the people of our choice to administer our estate, ensures the right people receive our assets after our death, appoints the guardians of our children and can record our funeral wishes. For people with business interests and entities it may also assist in the proper succession of those things.
Having a current Will is important as the circumstances and needs of the will maker, and the beneficiaries that the will maker is providing for, are ever changing. It provides peace of mind and may save significant legal costs, disputes and expense when we die.
Understanding which of your ‘assets’ will actually fall into your estate is important. We will assist you by advising the rules relating specifically to your jointly owned assets, your superannuation death benefits and your life insurance, as not everything is automatically controlled by a person’s Will.
If you die without leaving a valid Will, your estate is dealt with in accordance with the legislative ‘intestacy’ formula setting out which relatives, or other persons, are to receive your estate (and in what shares) and who is to administer your estate. Often, the people set out by this formula are not the people you would choose or want to benefit from your estate. These intestacy rules can force the sale of your assets, like the family home, to meet the distribution requirements.
Our estate planning advice considers estate tax planning and asset protection issues. We provide advice and solutions with estate planning for blended families, special needs beneficiaries and business succession. Where needed, we can include testamentary trusts in your Wills to ensure that the right people benefit from your estate at the right time.
No two people are the same and your Will should be tailored specifically for you.
If there is someone that does not have the capacity to make their own Will, we can advise on, and assist if pursued, the Court process of applying for a statutory Will.
It is important that you decide who should be making decisions for you if you are ever unable to act for yourself. Whether through accident or illness, there may be a time that you cannot act for yourself and someone else needs to be able to deal with your financial matters and make personal and health care decisions for you. Rather than leave that ‘someone’ to be decided by a tribunal, we encourage all our clients to consider making an Enduring Power of Attorney tailored specifically to their needs. There are many aspects to be considered in properly creating an Enduring Power of Attorney which we will advise on.
We can also assist with Advance Health Directives and General Powers of Attorney.
We can advise, and assist, in relation to tribunal applications for guardianship and administration for impaired adults who do not have an Enduring Power of Attorney in place.