Services

Wills &
Estates

Wills & Estates

Whilst everyone should have a legal will not all wills are the same.

The growing complexities of today’s society, taxation laws and the expansion of superannuation mean that having a simple will alone may not ensure that your assets are passed on to your intended beneficiaries.

We can assist you with all your estate planning requirements from simple wills to complex trusts and can also help to prepare Powers of Attorney and Advance Care Directives to ensure that you are protected if you lose the ability to make decisions about your financial affairs or medical and lifestyle treatment.

We can also help you to administer a deceased estate including obtaining a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.

Sometimes there are disputes as to the terms of a will or as to the administration of an estate. We can advise and act for you with respect to contested estates.

Our services include:
– Estate Planning
– Wills and Testamentary Trusts
– Superannuation Binding Death Benefit Nominations
– Powers of Attorney
– Advance Care Directives
– Probate
– Contested Wills and Estates
– Estate Litigation

Probate

Probate and Letters of Administration

Probate is the formal recognition by the Courts as to the validity of a deceased person’s last will.

The executor or executors of a deceased person’s last will may be required to “prove” the validity of the will and that it truly reflects that persons wishes.

In obtaining a grant of probate the executor or executors must provide details as to the assets and liabilities of the deceased estate and must satisfy the Supreme Court that:

1. They are the executor or executors named in the will.

2. Any other persons named in the will to be executors in priority to the applicant either cannot or will not apply for probate.

3. The will is the last will of the deceased person.

4. The assets and liabilities included in the application are the assets and liabilities of the deceased person wherever situated known to the applicant at the time of lodging the application (if further assets are later discovered they will need to be disclosed to the Court).

5. The named executor or executors will administer the estate of the deceased in accordance with the terms of the will.

Most applications for a grant of probate are made in “common form” without any need for an applicant to actually appear in Court. Sometimes however, where there is a real dispute as to the validity of a will, such as, where there are suggestions that a deceased person did not have the necessary mental capacity to make a will or where there are allegations of fraud or undue influence exerted upon a deceased person to make a particular will, an executor may need to apply for a grant of probate in “solemn form” with a Judge of the Supreme Court having to decide the validity of the will.

Where a person dies without a will they die “intestate”.

In those circumstances an appropriate person (usually a family member such as a spouse, child, parent or sibling) will need to apply for Letters of Administration of the deceased estate. Letters of Administration, like a grant of probate, is a formal Court order authorising a person to administer a deceased estate and deal with the estate’s assets such as real estate, motor vehicles, bank accounts and superannuation death benefits paid to an estate.

There is a legal order of priority as to who is entitled to apply for a grant of Probate and Letters of Administration and who is entitled to share in the division of the estate. As an administrator you will want to get this right to comply with your obligations.

We suggest seeking expert probate advice as soon as practicable. The process can be quite complicated and if any application lodged with the Court is not correct there can be substantial delays in administering an estate at what is usually a very difficult time.

Family
Law

Family Law

It is a sad fact of life that some relationships breakdown. When that happens it is generally better for all concerned if disputes can be resolved informally without the need to have the Courts decide the outcome. Unfortunately this is not always possible and sometimes court proceedings are unavoidable.

We can assist you in relation to property disputes in both the Federal Magistrates Court and Family Court as well as assisting you to attempt to reach a settlement at the earliest stages.

In recent years Australia has seen a growth in binding financial agreements which operate much like pre- nuptial agreements which have been well known in the United States for many years. Binding financial agreements can be prepared prior to marriage, during marriage and after marriage to reflect your mutual wishes and can effectively oust the jurisdiction of the Courts to determine your property settlement upon the breakdown of your marriage.

Like married couples we can also assist with de facto relationships and can prepare agreements for all de facto couples which operate in a similar fashion to marital financial agreements.

Often when a relationship breaks down where children are involved one or more parties may have obligations to pay child support. There are ways to do this tax effectively whilst making sure that the children do not miss out!

Our services include;
Consent Orders
Divorce
Property Disputes and Settlements
Binding Financial Agreements
Cohabitation Agreements
Child Maintenance Agreements
Custody Disputes

Family
Business

Family Business

Statistics suggest that a family business has something like a one in three chance of reaching the second generation. Yet few business founders like to acknowledge that their own business may be the one to fail.

Proper planning for the future success of a family business should include consideration of the family’s personal desires along with strategic business planning.

The family should consider how it integrates with the business and how family dynamics are managed.

We can assist with the establishment of ground rules and processes to ensure the business is equipped to progress from each generation to the next.

Our services include:

– Assisting with the establishment of a family council
– Preparation of a family constitution or family charter
– Facilitating family meetings and counselling

Succession
Planning

Succession Planning

Whilst it makes sense to have your will and estate planning in order the effectiveness of the best laid plans can be reduced if you do not give proper consideration to other commercial matters such as asset protection.

If you do not take the time to consider your asset structures including your business ownership structures you may be missing opportunities to minimise tax, protect your assets and plan to hand control on to your intended beneficiaries when the time is right.

As superannuation has become one of our most significant assets it is also important that you understand the superannuation environment, the applicable rules and the effect of your death on your superannuation benefits.

We can also assist you to develop and implement business succession strategies to provide for departure from your business for reasons of retirement and also for reasons of incapacity, death or disablement.

We often work closely with your financial adviser or accountant to assist with your succession strategies.

Our services include;
Family Trusts
Self-managed Superannuation
Limited recourse borrowing arrangements
Deeds of Family Arrangement
Business Succession Plans
Buy/sell Agreements

Retirement
& Aged Care

Retirement & Aged Care

Have you decided to move into a retirement village and looking for legal advice?

We can assist you in relation to all legal aspects of retirement village contracts and compliance with applicable legislation.

In recent years, the retirement village industry has undergone a large consolidation and continues to be subject to changing government regulations.

Do you or a loved one need to go into aged care?

The decision to move into aged care can be a daunting one. We can help to make the process easier and provide you with advice about the applicable laws relating to aged care assessments, accommodation expenses and the effect of aged care on your estate planning wishes.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics predicts that by 2030, about a quarter of Australia’s population will be above 65 years of age. To meet this growing demand, we have an in-depth knowledge of the legislation and government policies.

We understand the issues surrounding the aged care industry regulations and changes and we strive to provide strategic and relevant advice.

Referrers

Referrers

Financial Advisers Accountants and other Referrers

Many financial and business advisers and other solicitors offer estate planning services to their clients, but most could be doing it better.

If you are looking to expand your practice into the area of estate planning from simple wills and power of attorney and guardianship documents to superannuation issues and the most complex business succession planning and would like to develop greater expertise and hold a relationship with a specialist firm then contact our principal Tim Donlan. From simple to sophisticated we can assist you and your clients and are available for joint meetings at a time and venue to suit.

In a period of substantial inter-generational wealth transfer as the “baby boomers” commence to retire ensure that you are providing your clients with the best service and advice and otherwise add another element to your firm’s services.

Call us today.

Wills & Estates

Whilst everyone should have a legal will not all wills are the same.

The growing complexities of today’s society, taxation laws and the expansion of superannuation mean that having a simple will alone may not ensure that your assets are passed on to your intended beneficiaries.

We can assist you with all your estate planning requirements from simple wills to complex trusts and can also help to prepare Powers of Attorney and Advance Care Directives to ensure that you are protected if you lose the ability to make decisions about your financial affairs or medical and lifestyle treatment.

We can also help you to administer a deceased estate including obtaining a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.

Sometimes there are disputes as to the terms of a will or as to the administration of an estate. We can advise and act for you with respect to contested estates.

Our services include:
– Estate Planning
– Wills and Testamentary Trusts
– Superannuation Binding Death Benefit Nominations
– Powers of Attorney
– Advance Care Directives
– Probate
– Contested Wills and Estates
– Estate Litigation

Probate and Letters of Administration

Probate is the formal recognition by the Courts as to the validity of a deceased person’s last will.

The executor or executors of a deceased person’s last will may be required to “prove” the validity of the will and that it truly reflects that persons wishes.

In obtaining a grant of probate the executor or executors must provide details as to the assets and liabilities of the deceased estate and must satisfy the Supreme Court that:

1. They are the executor or executors named in the will.

2. Any other persons named in the will to be executors in priority to the applicant either cannot or will not apply for probate.

3. The will is the last will of the deceased person.

4. The assets and liabilities included in the application are the assets and liabilities of the deceased person wherever situated known to the applicant at the time of lodging the application (if further assets are later discovered they will need to be disclosed to the Court).

5. The named executor or executors will administer the estate of the deceased in accordance with the terms of the will.

Most applications for a grant of probate are made in “common form” without any need for an applicant to actually appear in Court. Sometimes however, where there is a real dispute as to the validity of a will, such as, where there are suggestions that a deceased person did not have the necessary mental capacity to make a will or where there are allegations of fraud or undue influence exerted upon a deceased person to make a particular will, an executor may need to apply for a grant of probate in “solemn form” with a Judge of the Supreme Court having to decide the validity of the will.

Where a person dies without a will they die “intestate”.

In those circumstances an appropriate person (usually a family member such as a spouse, child, parent or sibling) will need to apply for Letters of Administration of the deceased estate. Letters of Administration, like a grant of probate, is a formal Court order authorising a person to administer a deceased estate and deal with the estate’s assets such as real estate, motor vehicles, bank accounts and superannuation death benefits paid to an estate.

There is a legal order of priority as to who is entitled to apply for a grant of Probate and Letters of Administration and who is entitled to share in the division of the estate. As an administrator you will want to get this right to comply with your obligations.

We suggest seeking expert probate advice as soon as practicable. The process can be quite complicated and if any application lodged with the Court is not correct there can be substantial delays in administering an estate at what is usually a very difficult time.

Family Law

It is a sad fact of life that some relationships breakdown. When that happens it is generally better for all concerned if disputes can be resolved informally without the need to have the Courts decide the outcome. Unfortunately this is not always possible and sometimes court proceedings are unavoidable.

We can assist you in relation to property disputes in both the Federal Magistrates Court and Family Court as well as assisting you to attempt to reach a settlement at the earliest stages.

In recent years Australia has seen a growth in binding financial agreements which operate much like pre- nuptial agreements which have been well known in the United States for many years. Binding financial agreements can be prepared prior to marriage, during marriage and after marriage to reflect your mutual wishes and can effectively oust the jurisdiction of the Courts to determine your property settlement upon the breakdown of your marriage.

Like married couples we can also assist with de facto relationships and can prepare agreements for all de facto couples which operate in a similar fashion to marital financial agreements.

Often when a relationship breaks down where children are involved one or more parties may have obligations to pay child support. There are ways to do this tax effectively whilst making sure that the children do not miss out!

Our services include:
– Consent Orders
– Divorce
– Property Disputes and Settlements
– Binding Financial Agreements
– Cohabitation Agreements
– Child Maintenance Agreements
– Custody Disputes

Family Business

Statistics suggest that a family business has something like a one in three chance of reaching the second generation. Yet few business founders like to acknowledge that their own business may be the one to fail.

Proper planning for the future success of a family business should include consideration of the family’s personal desires along with strategic business planning.

The family should consider how it integrates with the business and how family dynamics are managed.

We can assist with the establishment of ground rules and processes to ensure the business is equipped to progress from each generation to the next.

Our services include:

– Assisting with the establishment of a family council
– Preparation of a family constitution or family charter
– Facilitating family meetings and counselling

Succession Planning

Whilst it makes sense to have your will and estate planning in order the effectiveness of the best laid plans can be reduced if you do not give proper consideration to other commercial matters such as asset protection.

If you do not take the time to consider your asset structures including your business ownership structures you may be missing opportunities to minimise tax, protect your assets and plan to hand control on to your intended beneficiaries when the time is right.

As superannuation has become one of our most significant assets it is also important that you understand the superannuation environment, the applicable rules and the effect of your death on your superannuation benefits.

We can also assist you to develop and implement business succession strategies to provide for departure from your business for reasons of retirement and also for reasons of incapacity, death or disablement.

We often work closely with your financial adviser or accountant to assist with your succession strategies.

Our services include:
– Family Trusts
– Self-managed Superannuation
– Limited recourse borrowing arrangements
– Deeds of Family Arrangement
– Business Succession Plans
– Buy/sell Agreements

Retirement & Aged Care

Have you decided to move into a retirement village and looking for legal advice?

We can assist you in relation to all legal aspects of retirement village contracts and compliance with applicable legislation.

In recent years, the retirement village industry has undergone a large consolidation and continues to be subject to changing government regulations.

Do you or a loved one need to go into aged care?

The decision to move into aged care can be a daunting one. We can help to make the process easier and provide you with advice about the applicable laws relating to aged care assessments, accommodation expenses and the effect of aged care on your estate planning wishes.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics predicts that by 2030, about a quarter of Australia’s population will be above 65 years of age. To meet this growing demand, we have an in-depth knowledge of the legislation and government policies.

We understand the issues surrounding the aged care industry regulations and changes and we strive to provide strategic and relevant advice.

Referrers

Financial Advisers Accountants and other Referrers

Many financial and business advisers and other solicitors offer estate planning services to their clients, but most could be doing it better.

If you are looking to expand your practice into the area of estate planning from simple wills and power of attorney and guardianship documents to superannuation issues and the most complex business succession planning and would like to develop greater expertise and hold a relationship with a specialist firm then contact our principal Tim Donlan. From simple to sophisticated we can assist you and your clients and are available for joint meetings at a time and venue to suit.

In a period of substantial inter-generational wealth transfer as the “baby boomers” commence to retire ensure that you are providing your clients with the best service and advice and otherwise add another element to your firm’s services.

Call us today.

Need advice? Book a consultation!