Wills and Estates
How can you ensure a secure future for your loved ones?
The way you can do this and to avoid complications for the people you care about after you pass away is to have a valid will.
A will is one of the most important documents you will ever create. It is a legal document which sets out how you wish your assets to be distributed after you pass away. Can you afford not to have one?
You have worked hard all your life to accumulate what you have and the last thing you want is for it to go to the wrong people or worse, have it unnecessarily reduced by tax.
SPM Law has highly experienced lawyers to advise and assist you with:
- Will drafting
- Estate Planning
- Power of Attorney
- Estate Administration
- Challenging a Will
- Family Provision Claims
For an easy to understand Guide to Wills with details as to when and why you should review your will please click here.
Estate planning is about ensuring that the assets which you acquire during your lifetime are properly protected and structured for flexibility and maximum return so that on your death, they will pass smoothly to your intended beneficiaries.
In undertaking this planning, trusts and superannuation often require special attention. There are many pitfalls that effective estate planning from someone with professional experience can avoid.
Estate protection involves implementing arrangements that can safeguard your assets, formulating strategies for passing on an interest in a partnership or business, and putting in place guidelines for the guardians of your children. All assets of any value should be considered when developing an estate plan, including real estate, business and farm interests, investments, retirement plans, life insurance proceeds, personal property, art or other collections, cash and personal effects. The experienced lawyers at SPM Law will ensure your estate is protected.
Enduring Power of Attorney
We all face the possibility of being unable to manage our personal and financial affairs due to a sudden illness, severe accident, or declining mental capacity. If you lose your ability to make decisions and do not have an Enduring Power of Attorney, your financial affairs may be handled by a government department or institutional trustee for a fee.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document authorising another person, such as a trusted friend or relative, to act on your behalf to handle your affairs. This person is your attorney. The Power of Attorney conveniently allows someone to handle your affairs if you go overseas, take an extended holiday, suffer poor health, or reach an age when you need greater assistance. Knowing you have an attorney capable of dealing with your affairs when you are absent or infirm gives you peace of mind. A Power of Attorney is just as important as a will.
While a will operates on your death, a Power of Attorney operates during your lifetime.
If you would like to learn more about a Power of Attorney, please click here.
Taking care of your beneficiaries’ future does not end with preparing your will. Professional administration of your estate is essential; particularly in these times of increased litigation and contesting of wills. Estate Administration normally consists of two parts. The first is confirming the will’s validity. The process involves obtaining a grant of probate and having the Supreme Court confirm it is the last will. There are strict guidelines regarding the form of application, the timing of the application, and the type of advertising to be placed. The second part of Estate Administration includes dealing with all the assets and distributing them to the beneficiaries. It includes:
- Liaising with banks, share registries, and superannuation companies to determine their requirements
- Preparation of transfers for property and shares
- Attending to the sale of assets (where required)
- Liaising with your accountant regarding tax liabilities and providing information for final tax returns
- Assisting in applications for the executor’s commission
- Identifying beneficiaries
- Making partial and final distributions
An executor/executrix remains liable to beneficiaries where his or her duties are not timely undertaken. Because they act as Trustee of the deceased’s assets, he or she owes a duty of care to the beneficiaries to ensure that the value of the estate’s assets is not depleted during the administration of the estate. If you are an executor or executrix, you need to be familiar with the terms of the will and the legal obligations regarding communication with beneficiaries.
At SPM Law we are here to carefully guide you through these obligations during a difficult time for all involved.
Challenging a Will
Click here for more information on Challenging a Will.
Preparing your Will - Meeting with your Solicitor
Congratulations on making an appointment with SPM Law to create or update your will. Before your meeting we ask that you complete an online form to ensure your solicitor has as much information as possible. By completing the form you will not only save time but also Money! Please click here.