Wills and Estate Planning
We work with our clients to ensure that their final wishes are carried out.
The law around wills and estates is complex, therefore we always make sure to get a detailed picture of your personal circumstances before we provide advice that is tailored to you.
We will always advise you on the risk of your estate being disputed and how to minimise that risk.
We provide legal advice on all areas of estate planning including :
Preparation of Wills – every person is unique and so is the information that needs to be considered before preparing a will. We can assist in the preparation of wills for singles, married couples, blended families and those requiring more complex Wills with testamentary trusts or special disability trusts.
Testamentary trusts – in the right circumstances a testamentary trust, which gifts a person’s estate to a discretionary trust or trusts can provide very effective assets protection and are tax effective. Testamentary trusts can also be useful to create a structure that
enables a person to manage and control part of your estate for the benefit of a person who is unable to manage their financial affairs.
Special disability trusts – if you have a beneficiary who has a disability you may be able to create a special disability trust through your will. The Federal government has created a
scheme by which gifts can be held on trust for the benefit of a person who meets the certain definitions and those gifts will receive means test concessions. The trust deed must contain specific terms to qualify as a special disability trust. We can advise on whether a special disability trust would be appropriate in your circumstances.
Succession of Existing Trusts – we can advise on intergenerational transfers of ownership in family trusts. Family trusts (otherwise known as discretionary trusts) will continue despite the death of a particular beneficiary. It is important that you understand how control of the assets of a trust will transfer upon the death of a trustee of key decision maker.
Superannuation – it is likely that the distribution of your superannuation will not be
influenced by the terms of your will. We can provide advice on the distribution of your superannuation upon your death through death benefit nomination forms as well as advice on pension documents and ownership of life insurance policies.
Powers of Attorney – are documents that enable you to nominate a person or persons to make certain decisions for you while you are alive. The law around powers of attorney
requires careful explanation to ensure you understand the effect of any appointment you make. Powers of Attorney are very important as you age so as to ensure your loved ones
can easily take care of you.
Enduring Power of Attorney (Financial and Personal) – through these you can appoint another person (known as an attorney) or persons to deal with their assets (including real estate and bank accounts) as if they were you. You can also choose to give the attorney the power to make lifestyle decisions for you should you not be able to do so.
There are a number of different variables in making such an appointment so you should obtain specific legal advice to determine what is appropriate for you.
Appointment of Medical Decision Maker – as the name suggests this document only deals with medical decision such as when to commence medical treatment, when to stop medical treatment and if there is a choice which medical treatment to use. This document would only take affect when you are not able to make a decision yourself due to illness or injury.
General Power of Attorney – despite the name a general power of attorney is normally only used for a specific purpose such as appointing a person to make decisions and execute documents regarding the sale of a property or other asset.
Will Disputes – we can act in disputes over estates including on whether a deceased person’s will provides adequately for certain people as well as on the validity of a will. Our litigation team is experienced in dealing with such matters and regularly appears in the Supreme and County Courts dealing with such disputes. We always try to resolve matters efficiently while also working to uphold our clients’ rights.
Talk to us about having your wishes carried out upon death including the transfer of your
assets as you intend.
Our Wills & Estates Team
Have Any Questions?
How is a will executed?
There are strict rules determining how a will is executed. The will maker needs two independent witnesses being in the same place each observing the will maker signing each page of their will. The two witnesses using the same pen must also sign each page of the will. We advise that you should always seek a lawyer’s advice prior to signing a will.
What is a testamentary trust?
A trust is a legal entity where the ownership of an asset is held by one party whilst the benefit is given to another party. In a will, a will maker can give the benefit of an asset or assets to a beneficiary whilst the control of the asset is held by the trustee.
What is a power of attorney?
A power of attorney is a document where a person, during their lifetime, gives another party or parties the right to make decisions on their behalf in certain circumstances. The most common powers of attorney are enduring which can cover legal, financial and lifestyle choices and medical treatment.
Do my partner and I need separate wills?
All couples need to have separate wills. They can reflect each other, having the same terms, but a will is personal to an individual and not a couple.
Life interests are popular now that second marriages and de-facto relationships are commonplace in society. Life interests enable you to provide for someone by giving them the ability to use your property after your death. A life interest provides many of the benefits...
Whether you have ‘capacity’ to make a decision may significantly impact your ability to conduct your own affairs. Capacity is a particularly important legal concept when making a new will or a power of attorney. Understanding what constitutes capacity will assist you...
One of the most important decisions to make when considering making a Will is who gets your assets. Many clients are surprised to find that their Will only deals with assets in their own name at the date of death which could only be a bank account of $10,000, although...
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One of our Wills & Estates team will contact you for a free chat about your legal requirements.