Wills and Family Provision Claims
Expert legal representation
Expert legal representation
At Greenleaf Legal, we can assist you with everything from drafting your Will, appointing a Power of Attorney or Enduring Guardian, administration of estates, or contesting Wills. We believe that securing a comfortable future for your family requires careful preparation and is not to be taken lightly. The time to act is now. Talk to us today and find out how we can help you achieve the level of security you’re after for your family.
A Will is a legal document that states your intentions for your assets at the time of your death. A Will is important to ensure that your estate and assets are distributed in the way that you want and that your family is protected. Without a valid Will, you are said to die “intestate”, which means that your estate will likely be handled by someone you did not wish to handle, and more importantly, that your assets can be distributed to those that you did not wish to distribute those assets to. This can understandably be very stressful and upsetting for your family. We recommend against the purchase of the “Do-It-Yourself-Will-Kits” and Online Forms as these instruments do not provide tailored advice suitable to your particular circumstances and they may not align with your other legal documents. You also run the risk that the Will is not completed properly. If any of these scenarios were to occur, you then bear a significant risk that your Will is deemed invalid at the time of your death, which can of course spark significant debate among family members and potentially a claim against your estate. It is a quicker and cheaper process in the long run to just see us from the start. Let us prepare your Will for peace of mind. We can also consider whether a Power of Attorney or Guardianship document should be included in your estate documents.
Power of Attorney or Enduring Guardian
A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you (“the principal”) appoint someone (“the attorney”) to manage your assets and financial affairs while you are alive. The appointment can come into effect immediately (such as if you are overseas and want to give your attorney power to pay your bills or complete a property transaction) or at a later point in time (such as when you become physically or mentally impaired). The effect of the Power of Attorney is that your attorney has the power to execute legally binding documents on your behalf and access/make use of your finances. The attorney cannot make decisions about your lifestyle, medical treatment or welfare. A Power of Attorney terminates when you die and the executor named in your Will then takes over administration of your estate. An Enduring Guardianship is a legal document under which you (“the appointor”) appoint someone (“the guardian”) to make decisions about your lifestyle, medical treatment or welfare when you are alive and no longer able to make those decisions for yourself due to becoming unwell, for example after you have suffered a serious accident or health issues. You must have full legal capacity at the time of execution of the Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship documents. Accordingly we recommend that you complete the document/s with us as soon as possible so that you have planned ahead and are protected in the unfortunate case that something does happen to you.
Administration of Estates
The administration of an estate refers to the process of managing and distributing a deceased estate, which includes the deceased’s assets and debt held. Dealing with the loss of a loved one is hard enough, but if you have been appointed in a Will to administer the deceased’s estate, i.e. the “executor”, this can be even more stressful for you. As executor, you have been charged with many duties, including but not limited to, attending to the funeral arrangements, managing the estate, assessing the estate, ensuring that the terms of the Will are carried out, obtaining authority from the Supreme Court to administer the estate (a grant of probate of the Will), pay all debts and distribute the estate. Let us help you through the process of administering the deceased’s estate to help make this stressful time for you as simple as possible.
Contesting Wills and Family Provision Claims
Have you been unfairly excluded from a Will? Have you inherited an entitlement substantially less than other beneficiaries? Is the Will invalid? Are you an executor dragged into a family provision claim? No matter the family provision claim that you’ve found yourself in, we can help. But you need to act fast – proceedings must be commenced in the Supreme Court of NSW within 12 months of the testator’s death. Other time restrictions apply in different states.