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52% of Australians do not possess a legal Will.

After a lifetime spent working, you want to be certain that your assets will be passed on, especially if you have loved ones to provide for.

A Will stands as a legal document that allocates your assets upon your passing. It serves as a testament to your wishes and safeguards their execution. Our adept Estate planning lawyers specialise in guiding you through the process of preparing your Will, offering counsel on necessary amendments or asset distribution, taking into account considerations such as Capital Gains Tax implications and structuring your Will to accommodate trusts or companies.

Creating A Will

Creating a Will is crucial in securing the future for your beneficiaries and safeguarding your legacy. Maguire & McInerney’s Wills & Estates team bring a wealth of knowledge and can help to draft comprehensive Wills that reflect your intentions, ensuring your assets are distributed in line with your wishes. In most cases, you need to be 18 years of age, appoint an executor and list all beneficiaries, with the completed document signed in the presence of witnesses. Navigating the intricacies of individual situations, our team can help you tailor your Will, from the allocation of specific bequests to the designation of guardianship for minors.

Estate Planning

Estate planning goes beyond the creation of a Will; it involves a strategic approach to managing and transferring your wealth. Estates can encompass everything from properties and physical assets, business and investments, digital assets, insurance policies, trust and business assets, as well as debts and liabilities. Our experienced team navigates the complexities of Estate planning, considering factors such as tax implications and asset protection, including personal property including real estate, and other valuable items such as art and jewellery. We work closely with you to devise a comprehensive plan that aligns with your goals, safeguarding your assets and securing your family’s financial future. 

Probate

Probate is a legal process that takes place after someone passes away. It involves validating and executing the deceased person’s Will (if there is one) and administering their estate. Navigating the legalities of probate can be overwhelming during an already challenging time. Maguire & McInerney’s Probate team offer guidance and support in administering estates, ensuring a seamless process of validating Wills and executing estate settlements. From authenticating the will and liaising with the executor, to addressing debts and taxes and distributing assets, we streamline the probate process and manage legal formalities to facilitate the efficient transfer of assets according to the Will’s directives.

Letters of Administration

Letters of Administration arise where a person dies without a Will (intestate) or an invalid Will. Where a person has died intestate, the court can appoint an administrator, to whom the Letter of Administration grants the authority to administer the estate, allowing them to distribute the deceased’s property and assets.

Letters of Administration must be applied for within six (6) months of the date of death, and NSW law sets out parties who may apply for administration, and who it may be granted to. Our team can assist with the application process, in obtaining Letters of Administration, and guiding the appointed administrator(s) through the intricacies of asset distribution.

Enduring/General Power of Attorney

Granting a Power of Attorney is a crucial aspect of estate planning, enabling a trusted individual to manage your affairs. A General Power of Attorney or an Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf. A General Power of Attorney is only effective while you have the mental capacity to make your own decisions. If you become mentally or physically unable to make decisions, the General Power of Attorney becomes invalid. The key distinction of the Enduring Power of Attorney is that it continues to be effective even if you become unable to make your own decisions due to the loss of mental capacity. An Enduring Power of Attorney is the most commonly used Power of Attorney.

Our team can help you appoint a Power of Attorney, ensuring decision-making powers are entrusted to individuals during times of need.

Enduring Guardianship

Enduring Guardianship allows another to make key decisions around healthcare, lifestyle and medical decisions should you be unable to do so. The Enduring Guardianship is particularly valuable in planning for future scenarios where someone may experience declining mental health, advanced age, or other circumstances that could impair his/her decision-making abilities.

The Maguire & McInerney team can provide guidance in establishing an Enduring Guardianship, ensuring your preferences are legally recognised and respected during challenging times.

Selecting an Executor

Whether it’s a family member, close friend or your solicitor, nominating an Executor requires careful consideration. Maguire & McInerney can guide you through the selection process, considering factors such as competence and willingness to undertake the duties required to execute a Will.

Steps To Get Started

Reach Out

Whether it’s phone, email, or dropping by our Wollongong office, book a date to sit down with one of our team.

Make a Plan

Understanding where you are coming from, and what you are looking to achieve means that our lawyers can craft the best course of action.

Take Action

Whether it’s litigation or mediation, our team of experts have decades of experience in and outside of the courtroom and are committed to reaching the best possible outcome.

FAQ’s

No, testamentary freedom forms the basis of Australian estate law, allowing individuals to distribute their assets as they see fit.

If someone dies intestate, or without a valid Will, a spouse or children are the primary beneficiaries and an application will need to be made to the Supreme Court in order to access the Estate, however it is not required by law that they are included or given preference when a Will is created.

In NSW, a will can only be contested by an immediate family member or partner of the deceased. A claim must be filed with the court within 12 months of a death.

On average, it takes between 9 months and a year to settle a will. This can be a confusing process, however Maguire & McInerney have experienced lawyers, ready to assist.

Yes, various limitations exist to protect eligible persons from being left without adequate provision, and courts are able to reallocate the distribution of assets in an Estate should sufficient evidence be provided or arguments made.

Estate Planning is the broad term that encompasses end of life planning, including Power of Attorney, Trusts and other documentation. Writing a Will is included in Estate Planning, and refers to the division of property and assets following the death of an individual.

There are alternatives to solely distributing assets via a Will including gifts made inter vivo gifts (those made during one’s lifetime rather than posthumously), through modest legacy or specific bequest.

There are many reasons a parent wouldn’t include a child in their Will, including estrangement, pre-existing financial arrangements, or concerns about the child’s ability to manage their inheritance.

Our Wills, Probate & Letters of Administration Team

Brendan Pearce

Partner

Mark McDonald

Partner

We’re here to help.

Enquire online, or call us today, and we will help you explore all your options. Your enquiry is completely confidential.