Estate planning is the process of making plans (and formalising them) about what happens to you (your care and wellbeing) and your estate, in the event you become incapacitated or die.
When we talk about ‘your estate’, we mean everything you own; for example, real estate, vehicles, money in your bank account, furniture, investments, shares, life insurance and even personal possessions like jewellery or artwork.
It is important to make decisions yourself about what will happen to your assets when you die or who will manage your financial and care decisions if you become incapacitated and unable to make those decisions yourself.
At E&A Lawyers, our estate planning advice and assistance takes a holistic approach. We ensure you’re aware of all the processes and options available to you to give you peace of mind for the future.
A Will is a legal document which clearly sets out your wishes about the distribution of your assets if you die and, where you have children under the age of 18, who you wish to appoint as their guardians. Every adult should have a Will. Even though legislation exists in case you do not have a Will, the result is highly unlikely to be what you would have wanted and could be unsatisfactory and inappropriate to those left behind.
A Testamentary Trust is a trust created in your Will, which only comes into existence upon your death. Given the complexities of taxation laws, family law disputes and creditor claims and given that many of us now have two significant assets, being the family home and superannuation (including life insurance), often a simple Will is not enough to protect your family.
Your Will determines what happens after you have died. Your Enduring Power of Attorney provides for you during your lifetime by allowing someone you trust to make decisions as to your legal and financial affairs should you be unable to do that yourself. A further document called an Appointment of Enduring Guardian which can include Advance Care Directives, allows someone to make decisions as to your care, well-being and living arrangements if you become incapacitated and unable to make those decisions for yourself.
Your guardian is someone you nominate through an Appointment of Enduring Guardian to make decisions about your health care and well-being if you are unable to do so. You can also specifically direct your guardian as to how you wish to be treated by way of an Advance Care Directive (ACD).
There are generally three areas in which you can contest or challenge a Will.
Each of these claims will depend on all of the circumstances and the evidence that can be used to support the claim. We can provide you with advice as to whether you have a viable claim.
If you are the Executor of a Will, you need to carry out the intentions of the deceased person according to their Will.
In most cases, you need to obtain a Grant of Probate from the Supreme Court. This is, principally, a "licence" to you, as Executor, to deal with the assets in the estate.
When you meet with our expert lawyers they'll be ready to provide advice.
The simple way to get a Will: get peace of mind with a solicitor-drafted Will and other important documents. Ensure your loved ones are provided for, and have your Will prepared quickly and easily as possible.
Learn about the key steps and timelines for dealing with a Deceased Estate including your role and obligations as executor, applying for a Grant of Probate, what to do if there is no Will and how we can help you.