If you die without having made a Will, your estate may be divided under certain government made rules. This could cause or result in unintended consequences and can lead to costly disputes. There are formal requirements for the making of a valid Will which must be strictly adhered to. The requirements include:
- the Will must be in writing;
- the Will must be signed by the Will maker; and
- the Will maker’s signatures must be witnessed by two witnesses that are not likely to benefit from your Will.
Estate Planning –
Estate planning is more than just preparing your Will. A proper estate plan will deal with all of your assets including those that may not be controlled by a your Will. This could include:
- any assets owned jointly with another person;
- assets owned in a private company;
- assets held within a family trust;
- the proceeds of any life insurance policy paid direct to the beneficiary of the policy; and
- superannuation benefits.
Obtaining advice in relation to your estate plan will help you decide on the best approach and what is most appropriate for your particular circumstances.
Estate Administration –
Estate Administration is the process of administering the affairs of the deceased person either as set out in their Will or under the rules of Intestacy. We can assist executors with the process of obtaining the necessary grant of probate or letters of administrations.
We can also assist with the executors to:
- locating the deceased’s last valid Will;
- identifying and securing the deceased’s assets;
- paying the deceased’s debts;
- dealing with any challenges or disputes; and
- distributing the estate to the beneficiaries.
Contact us today to arrange an appointment to discuss any estate administration assistance you may require.
Estate Disputes –
There is a difference between challenging the validity of a Will and challenging the terms of a Will.
In cases where a Will has been validly executed, certain persons who are unhappy with the terms of the Will may be eligible to challenge the distribution. These types of claims are known as Family Provision Applications. It is important to note that strict time limits apply to the making of a Family Provision Application.
If you intend to challenge a Will you should contact us to discuss the relevant time limits.
Powers of Attorney –
Powers of Attorney fall into two categories:
- General Powers of Attorney; and
- Enduring Powers of Attorney.
A General Power of Attorney allows you to appoint a person or persons to make decisions on your behalf for financial matters and is only valid whilst you have mental capacity.
On the other hand, an Enduring Power of Attorney will continue event after you lose capacity to make decisions for yourself and permits your Attorney to make both personal/health decisions and financial decision on your behalf.
Contact us today if you have any questions regarding Powers of Attorney.