Wills & Estates

Wills & Estate Planning

Our experienced wills & estates lawyers can help you prepare:

  • inexpensive (fixed-price) straightforward wills
  • sophisticated wills with (discretionary) testamentary or protective trusts
  • wills containing Government-approved special disability trusts for loved ones suffering with a disability
  • wills that provide for the guardianship of children
  • wills containing rights to reside or life interests in the family home
  • wills containing gifts to charities

When we prepare your will we can advise you on issues such as:

  • steps that can be taken to minimise the risk of will challenges (family provision claims);
  • challenges of dealing with blended families;
  • superannuation, passing control of business structures, and family trusts.
Dispute

Enduring Powers of Attorney

An Enduring Power of Attorney is an important and powerful document through which you give trusted loved ones or advisors the power to make decisions for you in relation to financial, health or personal matters. If you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself due to illness or injury, it is important that your family or trusted advisors can make decisions for your welfare. Also, enduring powers of attorney can empower your trusted attorney to make financial decisions on your behalf if you are outside of the country or otherwise unable to act for a period of time.

An enduring power of attorney endures through any period of incapacity (whereas a general power of attorney will cease to operate if the person giving the power ceases to be able to make decisions for themselves). Due to this, an enduring power of attorney is an essential part of the estate planning process.

When you appoint an attorney under an enduring power of attorney, they are appointed for one or both of:

  • Financial Matters; and
  • Personal & Health Matters (which includes consenting to medical treatment and making decisions about where you will live).

The power to act in relation to financial matters commonly commences either immediately on the attorney’s acceptance, or on loss of capacity. The power to act in relation to personal and health matters can only commence on the loss of capacity.

Your enduring power of attorney can give certain directions to your attorney, or expressly limit their power.

Contact us about making an enduring power of attorney.

Estate Planning

We can work with you, and if you wish, also with your accountant and financial planner, to formulate a comprehensive estate plan.

What is Estate Planning? Estate Planning is more than just creating a will. Estate Planning involves considering all your financial affairs and assets in order to ensure control of your wealth passes to those you chose in a tax effective manner.

Who should consider Estate Planning? Everyone. But we find business owners and high net worth individuals will find the most value from the exercise.

Why? What many business owners don’t appreciate is that assets held in a family company, family trust or superannuation do not necessarily form part of your estate when you die. This means that simply having a will may not be enough to ensure those assets pass to those you choose.

How we can assist you with your estate planning

  • Review family trust deeds and advise how to ensure control of the assets in the trust can be transferred to the appropriate person (or persons) when you die
  • Review your SMSF trust deed and advise on:
    • Binding Death Nominations
    • (with your accountant or financial planner) how assets in your super fund can be passed on to your loved ones in a tax-effective manner
    • how to ensure control of your SMSF is transferred to the appropriate person (or persons) when you die.
  • Review your Company Constitution and any Shareholders Agreement to determine how ownership of your company can be appropriately dealt with when you die
  • Work with you and your business partners to create a Buy/Sell Agreement to enable your interest in the business to be purchased for fair market value.

Our process

We encourage our clients to complete our Estate Planning Questionnaire prior to our initial meeting with you.  We will prepare the first draft of your will in advance of our meeting based on your responses.  During our initial meeting, we will assist in advising you in relation to your intentions, and any legal issues which may impact on your decision making.  The will can then be amended, finalized, and signed in one appointment.

Sometimes, we will need some additional time to draft your will following our initial meeting with you. In this case, we will book a further signing appointment with you, or email the finalised will to you with signing instructions.  Our lawyers are also happy to visit you in your home.

Property

Estate Administration & Grants of Probate

Our experienced deceased estate and probate solicitors can assist with your legal requirements as executor appointed under your loved ones will.

Our services include:

  • Grants of probate or letters of administration
  • Transferring property
  • Advice on general duties as executor or discrete advice on specific issues
  • Full estate advisory and administration services

Estate Disputes

Disputes over involving the estate of a loved one who has passed away are unfortunately too common, and can be personally harrowing. These are matters where measured legal advice can make all the difference in navigating the path forward.

Our experience includes:

  • Family provision claims (will challenges)
  • Will Rectification applications
  • Advisory services to beneficiaries
  • Applications to remove recalcitrant executors
  • Will construction applications (i.e. where there is uncertainty as to the meaning of the words of the will)
  • Section 96 Trusts Act sanctions
Property
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