Our Wills and Estates Team has more than 100 years combined experience in all aspects of wills and estate law including:
- family succession planning
- preparation of trusts including discretionary, fixed and charitable trusts
- estate litigation including testator’s family maintenance (family provision claims) and other applications in relation to wills, with experience acting for both the estate and applicants
- powers of attorney
- testamentary trusts
- deceased estates administration
- guardianship and administration
A Will and Enduring Power of Attorney should be the cornerstone of any estate plan. To ensure your estate is administered in the manner you have chosen and to avoid unnecessary complications, it is important to seek professional advice if you intend making a will or updating your estate planning.
There are many objectives to be accomplished through the execution of a Will.These include:
- appointment of an executor
- ensuring controlled distribution of assets, which enables and obliges a person’s executor to distribute the person’s assets according to their wishes
- guardianship arrangements for minor children
- business arrangements which ensure the continuation of a business until a buyer can be found or other arrangements made
- GST considerations for the estate
- religious obligations.
A General Power of Attorney is a formal document giving someone the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf. It is a legitimate way of ensuring that someone else acts for you when you cannot. This legal power is not without limits and the document can specify the type of decisions the person can make or for which the person can be responsible. A Power of Attorney can be revoked by you at any time providing you are capable of understanding what you are doing.
An Enduring Power of Attorney, as opposed to a Power of Attorney, can remain valid even if you become legally incapable of conducting your own affairs. When a person who has not given an Enduring Power of Attorney to another becomes incapable of managing his or her own affairs, the law requires the Public Trustee to assume management of that person’s affairs and property.
A Testamentary Trust is a trust created through a will, which can have significant benefits for an estate, in that beneficiaries under a disability can be protected during their lifetime. As well, in certain cituations there can be significant tax benefits for beneficiaries through the use of a testamentary trust.
Members of the MacDonnells Law Wills and Estates team act in the administration of deceased estates in accordance with the deceased’s will. This may involve obtaining probate where it is required and transferring property, shares and other assets to beneficiaries.
Our Wills and Estates team is also experienced in complex estate dispute matters, including challenging a will (or defending it), claims for inadequate provision in a will, arguments about the mental capacity of the testator when making a will and when the deceased person died intestate.
Our team has a strong focus on dispute resolution, by negotiation or mediation where appropriate, while being sensitive to the stresses on the parties involved in difficult times.
Contact our specialised Wills and Estates team today for advice on estate planning and drafting your Will.