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Wills and Estate Lawyers Sydney
How can our Wills and Estates Lawyers help?
Our estate lawyers in Sydney have lots of experience in:
- Drafting a Will
- Enduring powers of attorney
- Creating estate planning documents
- Estate administration
- Advance health directives
- Family provision claim
- Estate litigation and Will disputes
We understand that dealing with Wills and Estates can be a stressful time. Turner Freeman Lawyers have a comprehensive Wills and Estates law firm so we can assist you with every aspect of your legal process, whether you need a Will drafted or are looking to contest a Will.
Meet our team
Why should I choose Turner Freeman Estate Lawyers?
Turner Freeman Estate Lawyers have been helping people navigate Wills and Estate law since 1952. Our extremely professional team can help you with every aspect of your legal needs and offer comprehensive legal advice and support to ensure you get the best outcome possible.
Making a Will
Creating your Will and an estate plan can be a time consuming process if not done with an accredited specialist. You need to consider all your assets and which family members you would like them to go to. If there are specific reasons why you would like someone to receive or not receive an asset, having a legally valid Will in place that was created by an estate lawyer is the best way to ensure that your wishes are followed. It is also one of the most cost effective solutions to avoid someone contesting your Will.
Why do I need a Will?
Having a legally binding, up-to-date Will created by an estate lawyer, in place ensures that in the event of your death, your assets are distributed to your chosen beneficiaries in the way that you wished.
What happens if I die without a valid Will?
If you die without a Will, you are regarded as “intestate.” Your estate will be distributed in accordance with the laws of intestacy which will not take into account your wishes. It is the best way to protect your estate from disputes and will save your loved ones from a stressful time and legal costs.
For large and complicated estates, it might prove beneficial to organise an estate plan in addition to your Will. Our Sydney estate planning lawyers can help you with:
- compiling a list of your assets such as bank accounts and family trusts
- assigning a person to act as your decision maker (powers of attorney)
- assigning assets to specific people or organisations
- putting protections into place in case a beneficiary has any legal issues or special needs
- drafting a legally binding Will and a Statement of Wishes (morally binding).
Enduring Power of Attorney
When you appoint a person to be your enduring power of attorney you are requesting that they manage your financial affairs and legal affairs if you lose capacity to do so for yourself. It is important this person is someone you trust, has your best interests at heart and that you discuss your future wishes with them. This person will not be responsible your lifestyle and medical decisions, as that is the role of an enduring guardian.
Advance Health Directive
An Advance Health Directive (AHD) is the binding legal document written by estate planning lawyers, that lays out your wishes for your health care in the future, should you lose the capacity to decide for yourself. It covers medical decisions, palliative or aged care choices in the event that you are in a vegetative state or diagnosed with a terminal health condition.
When a person dies, someone has to deal with the affairs of the deceased. This process is known as “administering the deceased estate”. The person administering the deceased’s estate needs to make sure that the deceased’s taxes and outstanding debts are all paid, and that the deceased’s money and property are distributed to the people entitled to it.
How a deceased’s estate is dealt with depends on whether the deceased left a Will or not. This is why it is best to work with estate lawyers when administering an estate.
Roles and duties of an executor
When administering deceased estates where a valid Will was left it is likely you will need to apply for a Grant of Probate. If you are administering a deceased estate where there is not a valid Will, it is likely you will need to apply for Letters of Administration. Both these processes can be time consuming and confusing so it is best to organise the legal services of an estate lawyer in Sydney to guide you through the process.
What is Probate?
Probate is the process by which a Will is proved to be valid so that the deceased’s property can be distributed to the beneficiaries in accordance with the Will. The Grant of Probate is a document certifying that the Supreme Court recognises that the Will is a valid Will, is the last Will and testament of the deceased and gives the executor’s authority to deal with the estate.
What is Letters of Administration?
When the deceased leaves no Will, they are said to have died “intestate”. In such circumstances, the deceased’s spouse, de facto partner or other direct family members can apply to the Supreme Court to obtain Letters of Administration, and become “administrator” of the deceased estate. The process of obtaining Letters of Administration is not dissimilar to that of obtaining a Grant of Probate.
Who can make a Family Provision Claim Application?
The Succession Act NSW at Section 57 defines the eligible persons who may make an application to the Court for a Family Provision order are:
- A person who was the wife or husband of the deceased person at the time of the deceased person’s death.
- A person with whom the deceased person was living in a de facto relationship at the time of the deceased person’s death
- A child of the deceased person
- A former wife or husband of the deceased person
- A person who was, at any particular time, wholly or partly dependent on the deceased person
- Who is a grandchild of the deceased person or was, at that particular time or at any other time, a member of the household of which the deceased person was a member
- A person with whom the deceased person was living in a close personal relationship at the time of the deceased person’s death
Estate Litigation and Will Disputes
If you have been left out of a Will or received an unfair share of the Estate in the Will you may contest, challenge or dispute the Will. You can contest a Will by either challenging the validity of the Will or contesting the amount of money you have been left under the Will.
Disputes about the validity of Wills or entitlements under Wills arise in a number of circumstances.
On some occasions disappointed beneficiaries (or other persons including the executor named in the Will) approach the Court in respect of the validity of the Will. The circumstances might include:
- Where there are two Wills made close together.
- Where there is a doubt about whether the testator has actually executed the Will.
- Where there is a degree of doubt about whether the testator/ had the capacity to make the Will which is the subject of the dispute.
There are strict time limits involved when contesting wills so it is important that you seek legal representation from a Sydney wills and estate lawyer in a timely manner.
An Enduring Guardian is appointed to make decisions for your regarding your health and wellbeing if you lose capacity to make your own decisions. You can give directions to your guardian regarding healthcare, accommodation, services and treatment decisions. The Guardianship will only come into effect IF you lose capacity to make these decisions for yourself. They will not be responsible for your legal or property decisions, these will be made by your Enduring power of attorney.
Life Insurance and Superannuation
When a loved one passes away, the hardship following their death is often compounded if they were a source of income for another family member. All Super Funds in Australia offer benefits in the event of a loved one’s death. If you were a spouse, child, legal personal representative, or other dependent of someone who has passed away, you may be entitled to all or part of their super contributions and connected insurance benefits in the form of the death benefit.