What is a Will?
A will is a legal document outlining how your possessions are to be distributed upon your death. Preparing a will is important to ensure that your wishes are maintained and that the decision regarding who keeps your possessions is not left up to a stranger.
Your assets are not limited to houses, investments or money, it can also include other items that hold significant sentimental value. Contacting a wills and estates lawyer will ensure that your loved ones receive these precious items.
In addition to the distribution of assets, your document will include who will manage your estate and distribute your assets according to your wishes. This person is known as your executor and they can include one or more individuals.
There are two major divisions between lawyers working in Wills and Estates:
- Estate Planning Lawyers provide advice regarding how you should dispose of your assets and what structures you can set in place to obtain that objective. Our lawyers will provide you with an objective opinion based individually upon your situation, the outcome you are wanting to achieve and anything else relevant specifically to your situation.
- Wills and Estates lawyers will also provide advice regarding the legal enforceability of your will, structure options and potential litigation that can arise from your will.
Why Do You Need to Make a Will?
A will can be made by anyone 18 years of age or above. As a lawyer can draft a will including all of your possessions, not just significant assets, you can draft a will regardless of the value of your assets or financial status.
If you have no relatives, your estate may go to the government unless you have a will saying otherwise.
Our wills and estates lawyers can assist with:
- Preparing your will to allocate the desired distribution of your assets and the manner in which it is divided.
- Decisions on who you want to administer your estate (your executor(s)).
- Inclusion of charities or other good causes which you would like to support through your estate after death
- Articulating your wishes related to care of your children after death
- Stating wishes concerning your funeral, burial or cremation and spreading of ashes.
Wills and estate disputes arise in two major situations.
- Where someone passes away without leaving a will; or
- Where a person has a will that is not prepared correctly by a lawyer.
Many people are concerned about the legal costs involved with creating a detailed will. In an effort to save costs, they select the cheapest option to just ‘get it done’. The issue with this approach, is that a poorly drafted will can be challenged and potentially overturned. A significant portion of the work for wills and estates lawyers is running litigation in respect of estates were a correctly drafted will has not been prepared.
Approximately only 60% of Australian have a legal enforceable will. Of the 40% without a will, 20% intend to create one but continue to put it off.
Will disputes and contests arise from many reasons. Some examples include, family provision claims, claims made by partners or children or claims made by extended family members.
Sometimes, a will can be contested or become complicated when you have children from a previous relationship who have not been addressed in your will. When no will is made there are some legislative provisions that apply which will consider your direct relatives. These rules can distribute assets in a way that you may not want. Also if you pass away with a will (known as dying intestate) and there are no close relatives other than a first cousin, the government will take over the assets.
To avoid complications and costly court battles, it is always advisable to have your will prepared by one of our wills and estates lawyers.
At Pentana Stanton Lawyers, we have legal experts who are experienced in wills and contested wills and we can guide you on these matters:
We will work closely with you to give you the best guidance on:
- The preparation of your will
- Circumstances that influence your will
- Minimising the risks of delays, disputes and complexities in asset distribution
- Distribution of your estate according to your wishes
- Ensuring the financial security of your loved ones.
Challenging a Will
Are you wanting to challenge a will because you feel that you did not receive what you are entitled to or that you have been unfairly excluded?
Our lawyers can advise you on:
- Obtaining The Grant of Probate
- Possible claims on the estate
- Contesting the distribution of the estate
- Your rights as a beneficiary under a will
- Challenging or defending a will
Call Pentana Stanton Lawyers now on (03) 900 22 800.