Making a Will & Estate Planning
Nobody likes to think about it too much, but inevitably one day you will have to leave your business or farm, whether by selling up, retiring or leaving for health reasons.
It is very important to have a succession plan in place that makes the transition easy not only for yourself but also for your family or employees and minimises the chances of the business or farm having to be sold up when you leave
Estate planning goes beyond drafting a will – it includes:
- The assessment of assets
- The assessment of likely taxation
- Advice regarding the possibility of claims against the estate by third parties
- The protection of assets
Estate planning is an active process of re-evaluating the estate when circumstances in life change, such as:
- Newly married couples or those divorcing
- A change to the family’s asset pool
- A change in working conditions such as the buying or selling of a business
- Changes to superannuation, insurance policies or taxation levels
- The establishment of discretionary trusts
A successful plan is made involving all family members as it will take into account not only provisions for your retirement income but also the plans, aptitudes and existing assets of younger generations.
Help when someone dies & obtaining Probate
At Auslegal we understand that dealing with a deceased estate is one of the more difficult challenges in life. From mountains of paper work 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.
So, let us help you by:
- Interpreting the Will of the deceased in terms of estate laws
- Advising executors and trustees in regard to their duties and rights
- 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
Who can dispute a Will?
It 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 defacto 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.
Is there a time limit?
Yes, there is. You have only 12 months from the date of their death to make a claim. In certain circumstances, we might be able to obtain an extension of the time limit so please contact us to discuss your situation.
What if I don’t believe the Will was valid?
You can challenge a Will if you believe that the will is a forgery or if the person lacked the mental capacity to make a Will. You can also challenge a Will if you believe that undue influence was brought to bear upon the deceased or if there was fraud involved.
How do I make a claim?
In the first instance contact us and we can assess your claim and discuss the particular circumstances of your claim. If it’s worth continuing we will contact the executors and notify them of your claim. We will then gather evidence, prepare documents and make an offer to the executors. Many claims are settled through negotiation at this stage.
If the matter isn’t resolved then we can lodge documents with the court to initiate proceedings. We can still negotiate and in some cases mediation will be required by the court.
Failing all else, we will proceed to a court hearing wherein the evidence will be presented and the judge will make a decision.
We can help
In drafting a Will, applying for probate and with every stage of contesting or challenging a Will it’s important to have sound, experienced legal advice. We have the skills to negotiate on your behalf to avoid costly court fees, but if it comes down to court we also have the skills to fight on your behalf.
Contact us to find out more or to arrange a consultation with an experienced estate lawyer in Sydney or the Hills district.