As Benjamin Franklin once said, “..in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”.
Nobody likes to think about it too much, but inevitably one day you will pass away or potentially become unable to make decisions for yourself so making the time to prepare a will as well as a power of attorney and enduring guardian is a necessary evil and a task that many people put off.
With such diverse family arrangements and an ageing population, it is increasingly important that you properly plan for the future.
Novus Law Group can help you with all of the necessary documentation to ensure that you have in place a plan so that your family and loved ones are taken care of in the event of your passing, and that your estate is divided according to your wishes.
If you take the time now to make an effective legally binding will you can save your family from some of the stress in dealing with your estate whilst they grieve.
There is no one answer about how to do your Will. It all depends on your assets, your circumstances and who your beneficiaries will be.
You need to make a will that makes your wishes clear, that avoids confusion and conflict amongst your loved ones, and that is legally valid and binding. Doing this will protect your family and friends from costly and stressful legal disputes.
The things you need to consider in drafting your will include:
- Who will be your executors?
- Who will be your beneficiaries?
- What effect will the inheritance have on their circumstances?
Powers of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a legal document whereby you grant another person the authority to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf. It can be used in several ways – from having another take care of your affairs whilst travelling to times of extended illness.
An Enduring Power of Attorney takes this a step further, whereby the person nominated to manage your affairs may continue to manage the affairs once you are found to have diminished mental capacity due to injury or illness. This arrangement can remain in place as long as you are still alive.
Powers of Attorney can be prepared in two ways – to come into effect immediately and to continue once you suffer a loss of mental capacity, or to come into effect at a future time (such as the onset of mental incapacity).
An Appointment of Enduring Guardians is a legal document whereby you grant the right to make decisions in regard to your health and living arrangements to another person. This comes into effect only when you are deemed to have lost the ability to make decisions for yourself and gives your family the right to speak to health professionals about your medical situation and also to make the decisions necessary to carry out your wishes in regard to medical treatment options.
Probate and Deceased Estates
At Novus Law Group we understand that dealing with a deceased estate is one of the more difficult challenges in life. From mountains of paperwork to legal jargon and simmering family disputes, they’re the last things you want to deal with when you’re grieving the loss of someone important in your life.
We can help you by:
- Interpreting the Will of the deceased.
- Advising executors and trustees in regard to their duties and rights.</li
- Informing government bodies including Centrelink and Veterans Affairs.
- Applying for Probate of the Will in the Supreme Court.
- Dealing with intestacy (where there is no Will).
- Applying for Letters of Administration (if the Will is deemed invalid or is absent).
- Identifying estate assets and liabilities.
- Obtaining valuations of estate property.
- Collecting estate financial assets including superannuation, bank funds, shares, outstanding loans, and insurance payouts.
- Selling or transferring estate property including estate auctions.
- Paying estate debts including mortgages, funeral costs, and testamentary expenses.
- Advising in regard to family and testamentary trusts.
- Administering trust funds.
- Distributing bequests and inheritances to beneficiaries.
- Organising information for estate tax returns.
- Family mediation and negotiation.
- Contesting wills and defending estate litigation in the Supreme Court.
Contesting a Will
If you’ve been left out of a Will, or have been unfairly treated in terms of the amount of your inheritance you may be able to make a claim against the estate.
Who can dispute a Will varies from state to state, but some of the people who may be entitled to claim include people who had a relationship with the deceased such as:
- Wife or husband
- Defacto or same-sex partner
- Former spouse or de facto partner
- Child, stepchild or grandchild
- Parent of a child of the deceased
- Parent, brother or sister
- Someone who was financially dependent on the deceased
- Carer of the deceased
This is a very general guide only so please contact us to discuss your particular circumstances.
You have only 12 months from the date of their death to make a claim so please contact us to discuss your situation as extensions are only available in very limited circumstances.
You can also challenge a Will if you believe that the will is a forgery or if the person lacked the mental capacity to make the Will at the time it was signed. You can also challenge a Will if you believe that someone had undue influence over the deceased.
We recommend you contact a lawyer urgently who can assess your claim and discuss the particular circumstances of your claim.
Contact us to find out more or to arrange a consultation with an experienced wills and estates lawyer in Penrith and Western Sydney.