Estates and Estate Planning
The death of a loved one can be a difficult and emotional time for family and friends. In the time following your loss it is necessary to legally finalise the affairs of the deceased in relation to the assets and liabilities of the estate.
The process of finalising an estate will depend on the number and value of assets that are left behind, the type of ownership of those assets and the existence of a valid Will.
In some cases where the value of the estate is relatively small it is not necessary to obtain any legal authority to deal with the estate. If there is a Will the assets can be distributed in the accordance with the directions contained therein after the debts of the estate have been attended to. In other cases the law requires that a grant of probate is obtained when a valid Will exists, or an application for letters of administration be made where the person has died intestate.
The team at Cameron Legal have a wealth of experience in attending to the finalisation of a deceased estate in all circumstances. They will ensure that the process is completed swiftly with the upmost care and sensitivity.
A grant of probate is the legal recognition of the last Will left by a deceased person. It is a document which provides an executor named in the will the authority to handle and distribute the assets of the deceased estate.
The team at Cameron Legal can prepare and lodge an application for a grant of probate with the Supreme Court and attend to the collection and distribution of assets in accordance with the wishes of the deceased as detailed in the Will.
Letters of Administration
In some situations the deceased has not left a valid Will or the named executor in a Will is unable to act in this role. In these cases a grant of probate cannot be made. Rather, an application for Letters of Administration is made with the Court. This application is made by the individual who is to act as the estate administrator and step into the role of the executor.
Where there is no Will the distribution of estate assets is determined by law.
Family Provision Claims
The law permits each of us to leave our estate to whomever we choose through the creation of a valid Will. However, there is also a societal expectation that an individual will make provisions for certain people. This has been acknowledged through legislation that allows eligible person to make a claim on an estate based on what is known as a family provision claim.
In these situations the Court is asked to adjust the provisions made in a Will. The basis of such an adjustment is made on a number of factors including but not limited to the size of the estate and the present and future needs of the persons who are eligible to benefit from the estate.
The team at Cameron Legal can provide you with expert advice regarding the validity and strength of both bringing and defending a family provision claim.
There are a number of important issues that are covered by estate planning. More than just ensuring you have the necessary documents in place, it includes structuring your affairs to maximise the benefit available to yourself and your beneficiaries, while minimising any adverse ramifications such as unexpected tax liabilities.
The solicitors at Cameron Legal have the cumulative experience to assist you in all facets of estate planning. They will take the time to understand your personal situation and advise you on the options available to you. We have a wealth of experience to assist in creating an estate plan that provides a suitable balance between enjoyment of property and income during your lifetime, and the creation and preservation of capital for your family or other beneficiaries upon your death.
Contact us today to discuss the services we can provide.
A Will is a written document that determines how an individual wants their personal property to be distributed after they die. It allows a person to nominate one or more people to act as the Executor of their estate to ensure property is divided amongst the named beneficiaries in accordance with their wishes.
There are a number of formal requirements for a Will to be valid. These include that it is written, is signed by the person making it, and is witnessed by two independent persons who are not mentioned in the Will or entitled to benefit under the Will.
Making and updating your Will is important, particularly if your circumstances have changed by marriage, divorce, or the birth of children. If you do not have a valid Will at the time of your death there are statutory provisions which dictate how your estate is to be distributed.
The solicitors at Cameron Legal have extensive experience in drafting a range of simple and complex Wills. They will take the time to listen to your wishes and ensure that the document reflects exactly how you want your estate distributed. Contact us to draft your Will today.
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney allows you to authorise one or more people to make financial decisions on your behalf whilst you are alive. The appointment usually becomes effective immediately from when it is signed by each party, and remains valid for the time specified or until you revoke the appointment. Even though you have appointed an attorney, you can still personally carry out any transactions, such as banking and the sale of property, while you retain the ability to do so.
The scope of the appointment can be limited to specific actions and time frames, or broadly cover all of your affairs. A general power of attorney continues for a specified period. The duration may be set for a particular period of time, for example a period while you are ill or while you are overseas. This appointment will legally cease to operate if you lose the capacity to make your own decisions. If you want the authority you give to the attorney to continue even if you lose capacity you will need to grant an enduring power of attorney.
The role of an attorney is fiduciary in nature, which means that your attorney will be required to act in your best interest. This means they can not confer gifts or benefits on others, including themselves, unless you have allowed them to do so.
Any lawful action taken by the attorney under the power of attorney is binding on you. It is therefore important to appoint someone you can trust.
Contact the solicitors at Cameron Legal about drafting a Power of Attorney today.
Appointment of an Enduring Guardian
An enduring guardian is one or more persons you appoint to make health and lifestyle decisions on your behalf. The role takes effect only in the situation that you lack the capacity to make these types of decisions for yourself.
You can determine what type of decisions your enduring guardians can make, how those decisions will be made, and who will make them for you. This document essentially gives you a voice when you don’t have one, dictating how you would proceed if you were able to choose.
Although this appointment is not activated until you lack capacity to make medical and lifestyle decisions for yourself, you need to have capacity at the time that you appoint your guardian. Your guardian should be someone whom you trust will act both in accordance with your wishes and
in your best interests. The guardian will always be required to act within the bounds of the law, so you cannot give them a direction which would involve an unlawful act.
The solicitors at Cameron Legal have extensive experience in drafting these documents. They will take the time to ensure that your document is tailored to your own personal wishes and that all guardians understand their role and responsibilities.
Advanced Care Directives
This document informs your family and care givers of your wishes in regard to the provision of specific types of treatments if you are in the terminal stages of an illness or condition.