Wills & Probate
WILLS, ESTATES AND POWERS OF ATTORNEY
We at Bourke Legal Practice know the importance of making sure your affairs are in order and we encourage everyone to have an up to date Will and Power of Attorney. We help Executors obtain Grants of Probate and family members administer an Estate where the deceased person did not leave a Will.
We can advise you in relation to:
- Making a Will
- Estate planning
- Applying for Probate
- Applyling for Administration of an Estate (if there is no Will)
- Disputing a Will
- Entering into a Deed of Family Arrangement
Everyone should have an up-to-date Will
We recommend you review your Will regularly.
Why review your Will? Not only does the law change from time to time but at every stage of life our circumstances change. With these changes your wishes for your estate may be different, beneficiaries and executors may no longer be alive, your executors may not want the responsibility, you may have disposed of or acquired new assets, you may wish to include grandchildren. Have you made provision for your pets?
We can assist you review your Will to suit changed circumstances and to ensure it clearly reflects your wishes.
HELP FOR FAMILIES AND EXECUTORS
Where is the Will?
If you do not know where the deceased's Will is located we can help. Solicitors network with other law firms and usually if a Will exists someone will let us know that they have it. You are not obliged to engage the Solicitor or Public Trustee holding the Will. If you are the Executor you can direct whoever has the Will to send it to Bourke Legal Practice. It does not matter that property or assets are located elsewhere in Australia as we can arrange closure of bank accounts, management of assets, sale of property and distribution to beneficiaries from our office in Bourke.
If the deceased person did not make a Will or a Will cannot be found it may be necessary to apply to the Court for Letters of Administation of the Estate before the Estate can be distributed to beneficiaries. We can help you with this.
Duties of an Executor
If you are an Executor it is your duty to ensure that the wishes of the deceased are carried out. This includes bringing in the assets of the estate and distributing them to the beneficiaries named in the Will in accordance with the deceased's Will. You are also responsible for arranging the funeral. This may seem daunting at first particularly if you are grieving the loss of a loved one - we understand what you are going through and can help you along the way.
If a person has been left out of a Will or believes their entitlements have not been met they may decide to challenge the Will. The Executor is responsible for making decisions in response to any such challenge. Elizabeth Dalyell of Bourke Legal Practice has experience in acting for Executors in defending claims made upon Estates. Elizabeth has considerable experience in negotiation and dispute resolution and most cases can facilitate an agreement between the claimant and the Executor without proceeding to Court.
Have you been left out of a Will?
The Succession Act 2006 gives the Court has the power to make a “family provisions” Order on behalf of an applicant who has been left out of a Will or who believes they have not been adequately provided for in a Will.
Persons eligible to make family provisions claims include spouses, de factos, children, former wives and husbands, a person dependent upon the deceased, a grandchild and persons living in a close personal relationship with the deceased.
If you think you may have an entitlement which has not been met under a Will, make sure that you seek legal advise as soon as possible as strict time limits apply.
POWERS OF ATTORNEY AND ENDURING GUARDIANSHIP
We can advise and prepare Powers of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship documents. These are very important documents and ones which we recommend all our clients have in place.
A Power of Attorney is used to assist you with financial and legal matters while an Enduring Guardianship relates to health and lifestyle decisions.
Power of Attorney - assistance with financial and legal matters
A Power of Attorney gives the person you appoint legal authority to act on your behalf if you are unable to do so through loss of physical or mental capacity. A Power of Attorney can also be used in circumstances where it is convenient to have someone carry out transactions on your behalf (if you are away for example). The person you appoint (your Attorney) should be a trusted relative or friend and preferably someone who lives near to you. They can help you with banking, managing your accounts and dealing with Government organisations. You can revoke the Power of Attorney at any time. You can also appoint more than one Attorney.
Power of Enduring Guardianship - assistance with health and lifestyle decisions
A Power of Enduring Guardianship directs another person to make decisions in relation to lifestyle and health issues on your behalf if you lose mental capacity. You should remember that the Guardian is there to speak for you when you cannot do so yourself and cannot make decisions for you if you are competent to make those decisions yourself.
The person you appoint should be a trusted family member or friend. You should speak to the person about your medical care, accommodation and other lifestyle choices so that they are aware of your wishes should it become necessary for such decisions to be made.
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