The information below is not intended to be definitive advice... every individual's circumstances are different.
For advice that is right for you call us on 0407 254 499 to make your first free appointment.
Whether you are 18 or 80 you should have an up to date Will. If you die without a Will the beneficiaries will be decided according to a formula with certain relatives receiving a set percentage of your estate and this may not be what you wanted.
Separation or divorce has a significant effect on your Will - we urge you to seek our advice should you be considering separation or divorce or if there has been a change in your personal, family or financial circumstances.
If you have a blended family or complex family relationships will structure your Will so that the interests of your chosen beneficiaries is protected and your wishes are met; we can advise you how to reduce the likelihood of a successful challenge to your Will, known as a Family Provisions Claim.
Family Provisions Claims (claim against a Will)
We can advise you If you have been unfairly left out of Will or believe you have not been adequately provided for. We advise Executors if an eligible person has indicated they intend to challenge a Will; we assist Executors achieve a timely and cost effective resolution.
A Family Provisions Claim must be made within 12 months of the date of death of the Testator.
When you appoint an Enduring Guardian, you are appointing a loved one to convey your wishes if you are unable to do so yourself.
Before you make an Enduring Guardianship you should speak to the person you wish to appoint and discuss with them the medical and personal care you would like to be given if you are unable to speak for yourself. Your Guardian will be comforted in knowing what you wanted and being able to voice your wishes when you cannot.
An Enduring Guardian can make healthcare, medical and lifestyle decisions for you (only if you are unable to) - unlike a person appointed under a Power of Attorney who is appointed to assist you manage your financial and legal affairs.
The role of Executor of a Will is one of trust and carries with it significant responsibilities.
If you have been appointed Executor please call us. We can advise you to how the estate should be managed and what your responsibilities are. We may able to locate assets you were unaware of. If Probate is required we will investigate, locate and gather in the assets of the estate, lodge an application for Grant of Probate and distribute the assets of the estate in accordance with the Will.
If the estate is modest and if the deceased did not own real estate it may not be necessary to obtain a Grant of Probate - notwithstanding you should seek legal advice.
Applying for Grant of Probate is a complex process which requires the expertise of an experienced lawyer. You must apply to the Supreme Court of NSW for Grant of Probate within 6 months of the date of death of the deceased.
If the deceased did not leave a Will or the Executor has died, the assets of the estate cannot be distributed until Letters of Administration are granted by the Supreme Court. A person with an entitlement under the Will can apply for Administration of the Estate. An application for for Letters of Administration must be made within 6 months of the date of death the of the deceased.
Late applications - If you have not complied with the time-frame of 6 months you should seek legal advice immediately as it may be possible to bring a late Application for Probate or Administration.
ENDURING POWER OF ATTORNEY
When you make an Enduring Power of Attorney you appoint a trusted relative or friend to stand in your legal shoes. This may include operating your bank account, paying your bills and communicating with government agencies on your behalf. The document is called an Enduring Power of Attorney because it will "endure" if you lose mental or physical capacity.
A General Power of Attorney (rather than an Enduring Power of Attorney) can be made for a specific purpose and/or for a limited time - for example if you are going away and require someone to act for you while you are away.
Having a Power of Attorney provides a safeguard should anything unforeseen happen to you and where legal requirements cannot be met without your consent, authority or signature.
You cannot make an Power of Attorney if you have lost mental capacity, therefore we recommend you make a Power of Attorney while you are well and able to do so.