Estate planning, including the drafting of wills, has become increasingly complex and should be carefully considered. Our estate planning team remains up to date with legislative changes and case law concerning the drafting of wills and closely monitors changes to legislation so as to ensure your estate plan is thoroughly considered from all angles.
Similarly, the area of estate administration is being more complex with an increase in blended families and a common trend towards more complex assets structures e.g. discretionary trusts and self-managed super funds. The team at WGC Lawyers can ensure the estate administration process is completed quickly whilst ensuring compliance with the duties imposed on executors by legislation.
More specific areas of wills, estates and estate planning include:
- Advanced Health Directives
- Enduring Power of Attorney
- Estate administration
- Estate disputes
- Estate litigation
- General Power of Attorney
- Testamentary Trusts
Advance Health Directive:
An Advance Health Directive is a document that states your wishes or directions regarding your future health care for various medical conditions. It comes into effect only if you are unable to make your own decisions. You may wish your directive to apply at any time when you are unable to decide for yourself, or you may want it to apply only if you are terminally ill. The preparation of an Advance Health Directive involves a consultation with your lawyer and your doctor.
Enduring Power of Attorney:
Power of attorney is the legal power to make decisions on someone else’s behalf. ‘Enduring’ simply means that the power continues even if the person giving it loses the capacity to make decisions. An enduring power of attorney is a powerful document. Understanding the nature and consequences of this document can be assisted through seeking expert advice from a specialist estate planning lawyer.
This encompasses the collection and distribution of assets from a deceased person’s estate. Where a deceased person left a will, an executor will be appointed to attend to the estate administration and may be required to obtain a Grant of Probate from the Supreme Court, to access certain assets. Where a deceased did not leave a will, they are said to have died intestate and their estate will be distributed pursuant to the intestacy provisions contained the Succession Act 1981 (Qld). Before the estate can be administered, a Grant of Letters of Administration must be granted by the Supreme Court appointing an ‘administrator’ to attend to the administration (much like an executor).
Where there is disagreement among family members, executors or beneficiaries, appointing an experienced estate litigation lawyer can assist in resolving disputes without the need to start formal proceedings in the court system.
This encompasses estate disputes and family provision applications. Seeking appropriate legal advice can be hugely beneficial and reduce costs to the estate and reduce the stresses associated with this complex area of litigation.
General Power of Attorney:
A general power of attorney allows you to appoint someone to act on your behalf in relation to financial matters. It is often used in business relationships where, for example, an attorney is appointed to carry out functions when the principal is going overseas for an extended period. A general power of attorney ceases to operate as soon as the principal loses capacity, that is, it do not endure through the principal’s incapacity.
While not appropriate for everyone, there may be a benefit to some to include a testamentary trust in your Will. Incorporating a testamentary trust means that all or part of your estate is controlled by a trustee for the benefit of a particular beneficiary or a particular class of beneficiaries. A testamentary trust can provide significant tax advantages, provide flexibility and provide protection of assets.
In today’s day and age, a professionally drafted will is essential to ensuring your assets are protected and will be distributed to your intended beneficiaries.
For wills and estate planning legal expertise please contact our team:
- Jacqui Lee Long, Associate
- Susan Henson – Lawyer
- Kerryn Earle – Paralegal