Wills & Probate

Having a clear, legally valid and up-to-date Will is the best way to ensure that your assets are protected and distributed according to your wishes. Packham Solicitors has over 35 years’ experience providing estate planning solutions for our clients.

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“A well drawn Will should last you a lifetime”

 

A Will is a legal document that should clearly set out your intended distribution of your assets after your death. Having a clear, legally valid and up-to-date Will is the best way to ensure that your assets are protected and distributed according to your wishes. Wills are important and give a sense of security to the maker of the Will that their intentions will be enforced on their death.

Consider these aspects:

  • Anyone over the age of eighteen (there are some relatively unimportant exceptions to this) can make a Will.
  • If you consider your Will as a transfer of all your assets then you see it is an important document.

·         As many as 40% of Australians do not have a valid Will. This probably reflects that they do not have the time to draw a Will rather than a desire not to have a Will.

·         If you die without a Will, your estate will be divided according to a formula set out by the state government. This formula is a “one size fits all” approach to the situation and reflects what the government and the community consider fair but it may not be what you want. This can cause difficulties, costs and delays.

·         Your Will is one of the most important documents you will ever sign, so you should get it right.

Call us on 02 9410 3846 or contact us by email ([email protected]) after downloading the “matters to consider (link highlighted) –click to go there” and printing it. The document provides you with some guidance as to what you need to consider with regard to your Will.

Alternately we will then take the instructions from you regarding the Will by telephone and prepare the Will for you to review. If you want any quick and relevant advice just call us.

Making a Will does not need not be a slow process – with use of the internet your Will can be done as a draft emailed to the Will maker for his or her instructions. Those instructions can be effected into the Will and the Will maker only needs to attend at our office once to sign the Will.

 

Our philosophy is that:

  • a Will should be as simple as possible and easy to understand;
  • it should be made so far as possible so that it does not have to be re-drawn frequently;
  • it should not contain unnecessary clauses; and
  • it should be drawn to discourage litigation

If you cannot make it into the office the Will can be sent to you with instructions on how to sign it to make it a proper binding Will. We then check to make sure that you have signed it correctly by emailing it to our office.

Superannuation is often a significant asset these days and our service includes advice regarding how the Will maker should secure their superannuation benefits as part of the succession process and how superannuation and the estate passing under the Will work together.

The Will maker is offered advice on how to deal with “blended family” situations and how to avoid litigation over the will. See Family Provisions Act below – where is this stuff.

Free safe security for the deposit of the Will is available.

To a large extent it is common sense but testators often want to leave assets in ways that are likely to lead to litigation when they die. A common question asked of solicitors is “I worked for these assets why can’t I leave them the way I want to?” This is a question better asked of your local state parliamentarian. Really??

The law says that you have to consider your spouse and children when making your Will even if for other reasons you do not include all of them in your Will. It is very advisable to make it clear in your Will why you have not given them anything in the Will (if that is your intention).

 

Call Packham Solicitors on 02 9410 3846 for obligation free consultation to assist you with Will preparation.


 

 

Probate

I want to leave my children enough that they feel they can do anything, but not so much that they do nothing.” ~ Warren Buffet

Probate is a document issued by the court certifying the Will’s validity and confirming the appointment of an Executor to administer the deceased estate. The court requires proof that the Executor appointed in the Will is alive, willing and competent to undertake the tasks involved. Also, it is important to verify that the document is the last Will made by the deceased and that there are no objections to that Will.

Packham Solicitors specialises in the quick handling of estates. The first part of the process is the placing of an advertisement through the offices of the Supreme Court. We do this on the same day that the Executor or Executrix calls into the office and issues instructions. This means that the application for grant of probate of the Will can be lodged 14 days later and speeds up the process. While the grant of probate is being made by the Supreme Court, our staff are preparing the documents to enable the transfer all the assets to the beneficiaries or cashing them out. This means that there is less risk of assets being unavailable to beneficiaries and those beneficiaries get their rightful entitlements as soon as possible.

 

Call Packham Solicitors on 02 9410 3846 for obligation free consultation regarding application for probate.

 


 

Matters to consider in making your Will (new page link from above)

There are many important aspects to consider when making your Will:

  • your executors;
  • keeping it simple if possible;
  • you cannot give away jointly held assets –they pass to the other joint holder(s) on your death;
  • your superannuation – are your instructions to trustee of the superannuation fund(s) consistent with your will;
  • close relationships or dependencies;
  • if you anticipate disputes over the will as proposed, speak to the parties who are likely to be in dispute or get legal advice;
  • do not view your will as an instrument of retribution without getting legal advice; and
  • get the exact names of any charities.

Your executor(s)

These person or persons or corporation fill a very important role in your estate. They have considerable power once appointed by the Supreme Court and considerable responsibility.

Who should I appoint as my executor(s)?

They should be person(s) who are:

  • willing to take on the role;
  • trustworthy;
  • financially reasonably competent; and
  • available (e.g. parents are trustworthy but they will probably not survive you and similarly, good friends who are overseas should not be used).

If you anticipate that there may be disputes and litigation about your estate then you should consider appointing a professional trustee or solicitor as your executor.

The executor of a Will is responsible for carrying out the wishes of a person after they die. There are many steps involved in being an executor and duties may include:

  • making appropriate funeral arrangements and paying for the funeral;
  • finding the last will of the testator;
  • making an application to the Supreme Court to prove the Will as the last Will and testament of the testator;
  • contacting beneficiaries;
  • collecting assets and ensuring that they are distributed to the correct persons or corporations;
  • paying any proper claims and debts of the testator; and
  • preparation and management of accounts.

The executor can get legal and other professional help for the preparation of these duties.

Appointing guardians

If you have children who are under 18, you may wish to appoint guardians. Similar principles apply to this and appointing executors. However, an appointment of guardians cannot be proved in court in the same way as a Will and is subject to the laws relating to children’s welfare.

Why you have not made a will already?

·         never got around to it and too busy;

·         too hard;

·         not planning to die any time soon;

  • superstitious; or
  • don’t like solicitors.

‘Only the last one is a good reason’

 

Call Packham Solicitors on 02 9410 3846 for obligation free consultation about wills and probate.

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