Wills & Estate Planning
Most of our lives are spent working hard to build our wealth and assets – and provide security for our loved ones. Yet a staggering 52% of Australians don’t have a legal Will at all.
After a lifetime spent working, you want to be certain that your assets will be passed on to the loved ones of your choice, especially if you have dependents or loved ones to provide for.
A Will is a legal document that distributes your assets when you pass away. A legal Will provides reassurance and ensures that when you pass on, your wishes are respected. Although it can be uncomfortable planning for your own demise, Wills and Estate planning ensures that you and your loved ones have peace of mind for the future.
Our knowledgeable Estate planning lawyers can assist you in preparing your Will, advising you on when you need to change your Will and how to divide your assets or communicate any bequests. Throughout this process, they will also take into consideration things like Capital Gains Tax and how to structure your Will if you have a trust or company.
Aside from Estate planning, executors can also run into problems when it comes time to distribute the Estate. Our probate lawyers can act for executors to obtain a grant of probate, or when there is no Will, a grant on intestacy.
If there are any issues when it comes to the division of assets, we can also act for beneficiaries seeking to contest a Will.
Why Wills & Estate Planning is So Important
When people die without a Will, they are said to die ‘intestate’. In this situation, the Succession Act of 2006 makes provision for the distribution of assets. However, this means that your Estate will be distributed according to the relevant State law and it is unlikely to benefit your loved ones in the way you intended. This is why it is so crucial to have a legal Will prepared with the help of an Estate lawyer.
Modern Estate planning can be complex. In order to organise your Estate correctly, Estate planning lawyers need to have a comprehensive understanding of your financial situation, your assets, any investments, and your personal relationships.
Proper Estate planning requires a sophisticated understanding of Wills and Estates, deceased Estates, and how to manage structures like trusts, companies and partnerships to ensure the best outcome for you and your family.
Wills & Estate Planning FAQs
How to Create a Will That is Legally Binding
Many people create a Will before they die, but, sadly, the Will they create isn’t legally binding. There are several essential pieces of information that need to be correctly outlined in your Will to ensure that the document can stand up in court. If not, there’s a chance that your Will may be contested in court and your wishes may not be followed.
To create a Will, you need to be 18 years of age, in most cases. You also need to appoint an executor and list all beneficiaries. When the Will is complete, it needs to be properly signed in the presence of witnesses.
Our skilled Wills and Estates lawyers can show you how to create a Will, what to include, and how to structure your Will so that the document is legally binding.
How to Get a Letter of Administration
A letter of administration is a court order for an administrator to distribute the assets of a deceased Estate, where the deceased died ‘intestate’, or in other words, without a valid Will.
A grant of administration is usually made to the deceased’s ‘next of kin’, or closest relative. This process sounds simple enough, but, according to the law in NSW, there may be slightly different outcomes based on different scenarios. For instance, if there was no Will at all, an Estate may go to the ‘next of kin’, however, the situation can become complicated when there are multiple children involved or children from different partners.
If you are a beneficiary of an Estate (or believe that you should be), our Estate lawyers can assist in this process. Or, if you want to contest a Will, we can also assist you.
Maguire & McInerney Can Help with Wills & Estates
We can ensure that the intended beneficiaries receive your Estate. But not only that; we will plan your Estate to enable you to safeguard your wealth. This will ensure that it doesn’t become dissipated due to family property settlements or tax liabilities.
Our team has experience resolving disputed Estates, including between trustees and beneficiaries in regards to trusts and partnerships. We’ll create an Estate plan which protects your family’s inheritance from disgruntled family members or other beneficiaries. If you have a blended family we can also assist with the division of assets or advise you on any assets held overseas.
We can advise you on creating a power of attorney, selecting an executor, guardian appointments for minors if needed, or making healthcare directives should you feel you require them.
Your Will also outlines details regarding organ donation and cremation or burial. In situations involving more substantial inheritances, we have expertise in advising and preparing more complex Testamentary Trust Wills to provide certain asset protection.
Our team includes accomplished Wills and Estate lawyers, Brendan Pearce and Mark McDonald, and serves Wollongong and the greater Illawarra region. Maguire & McInerney bring outstanding experience combined with an impressive depth of compassion to Wills and Estate planning. It is this attitude, combined with practical insights and advice, that can assist you to reach the best outcome for you and your loved ones.
If you need advice on how to create a Will, how to get a letter of administration or how to contest a Will, get in touch with one of our Wills and Estate planning lawyers to initiate the process.
To begin the Estate planning process, contact us today.