WILLS & DECEASED ESTATES
Don’t be one of the 60 per cent of Australians who do not have a valid Will. The team at Lynn & Brown Lawyers can help you to prepare a Will so that in the event of your death, your estate will go to the people you want to provide for.
Your last Will and Testament is an important document. It contains your instructions as to what is to happen with all of your property including real estate and personal property (collectively called your “estate”) once you pass away. It is also your opportunity to express your wishes on matters that may affect your family should you pass away. The preparation of a Will requires the consideration of several key issues. For example:
- Who do you need to provide for?
- How will your estate be divided?
- Who would you like to be responsible for your children?
Another important consideration is who you appoint as the executor of your Will. An executor is the person who will be responsible for carrying out the instructions you have put in your Will. Your executor is also responsible for ensuring that any debts owed by you are paid once you pass away.
THE THREE KEY AREAS TO WILLS & DECEASED ESTATES
“Estate” is the term used to describe all of the assets you own or have an interest in at the time of your passing. For example, your bank accounts, car, house, shares and jewellery all form part of your estate.
“Intestacy” occurs when someone passes away without a Will. Their estate is divided between their relatives according to the law, not their instructions. This may not suit you as it may result in your estate going to relatives who you either do not want or need to provide for.
Certain persons, such as spouses, de facto partners, children, grandchildren and step-children, can (in some circumstances) dispute the distribution of your estate if they feel that you have not adequately provided for their needs in your Will. This means that your estate may not be divided in accordance with your instructions. It is important to have a Will that minimises the risk of such disputes occurring.
WHY SHOULD YOU GET A WILL?
Some of the key reasons for preparing a Will are:
- To ensure that your estate goes to the people that you want and need to provide for.
- To avoid your estate going to people that you may not want it to go to.
- To minimise the risk of having a disputed estate (see below).
WHAT DOES IT MEAN IF YOU DON’T HAVE A VALID WILL AND WHAT ISSUES MAY ARISE?
In Australia surveys show that about 60% of adults do not have a valid Will in place. If you do not have a valid, or up to date, Will you or family may experience the following difficulties:
- Your property may not go to the people you want it to go to. It may not go to them in the shares that you want it to.
- Your wishes as to who you would like to care for your children may not be known.
- Your children may receive their inheritance at the age of 18. You may wish to provide instructions as to how, and when, they receive their inheritance.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU WANT TO MAKE A WILL?
Contact us today for an appointment with one of our lawyers. They will be pleased to assist you to create a Will suited to your circumstances. Before you come in you might want to go through the Lynn & Brown Lawyers Wills Checklist.
Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a document whereby you appoint a person, or persons, to take control of your real estate and financial affairs. The benefit of having an EPA is that should you become ill, or unable to manage your own affairs for any other reason, your appointed person(s) can do so for you. An EPA must be made whilst you have legal capacity. If you do not have legal capacity, and have not previously appointed an EPA, someone will need to make an application to the State Administrative Tribunal to be able to deal with your real estate and financial affairs. Such applications can be complex, costly and time consuming. We recommend that you consider preparing an EPA when preparing your Will.
Enduring Power of Guardianship (EPG)
An Enduring Power of Guardianship is a document whereby you appoint a person, or persons, to make decisions about your health, lifestyle and medical treatments should you become unable to do so. An EPG does not allow that person to make any decisions about your property or financial affairs. An EPG must be made whilst you have legal capacity. If you do not have legal capacity, and have not previously appointed an EPG, someone will need to make an application to the State Administrative Tribunal to be able to make decisions about your health, lifestyle and medical treatments. Such applications can be complex and costly. We also recommend that you consider an EPG at the time of preparing your Will.
HOW WE CAN HELP YOU?
- If you need a Will, or to review a current Will, we will work with you to ensure your assets will be left to who you intend
- We can help you understand your obligations if you find yourself managing a deceased estate
- We can help to prepare an Enduring Power of Attorney, or an Enduring Power of Guardianship or an Advanced Health Directive
- We can provide advice on how to create a succession plan for your business