Wills & Estates
Do I need a will? It’s a question everyone asks at some stage. The answer is “yes”, along with enduring power of attorney.
Hall Payne can help you draft a legal will so your wishes are carried out. A will ensures your estate is administered quickly, at minimum cost, and your family is spared the trauma of court involvement.
We are experienced in succession planning and will and estate matters and can support you if plans change. Hall Payne can help to:
- prepare, complete and execute wills, enduring powers of attorney and advanced health directives
- appoint guardians
- apply for family provisions.
We have an online program where you can create your will or power of attorney at any time. Find it here.
A will is a legal document that directs how your assets, sometimes referred to as your estate, will be distributed after you die. Your will also appoints an executor, being the person who has the responsibility to finalise your estate according to your wishes and ensures compliance with all legal requirements.
A will means that when you die your assets can be distributed efficiently and effectively to the people that you care about. If this is important to you, and you’re over the age of 18, then yes, you absolutely need a will.
If your assets, your circumstances or your relationships change, your will may no longer be appropriate. To make sure your will reflects still reflects your wishes we recommend reviewing it every two years.
If something major happens in your life, we suggest you immediately review your will. A significant event of this kind could be:
- Marriage or the commencement of a new relationship
- Separation, Divorce or some other relationship breakdown
- Changes in your personal or business assets.
Please note that in the case of marriage, any will you have prior to marriage will become invalid upon your marriage. We strongly suggest that you contact Hall Payne prior to your marriage to ensure continuity of your succession planning.
If you die without a will, sometimes referred to as dying intestate, your assets will be distributed based on a statutory formula. What this means is that all your assets, including your personal belongings, will be distributed based on a formula set out in law rather than according to your wishes. The people who you most want to benefit from your estate may receive nothing at all.
It may also take longer and be more costly for your estate to be administered and finalised if you don’t have a will, which may cause significant stress for your family and loved ones at an already quite stressful time.
A will is a complex document that is legally binding. The structure of a will is dependent on each person’s individual and specific asset structure. Our experienced wills and estates team has significant experience in the drafting of wills, regardless of their level of complexity, and will ensure that your assets are dealt with in accordance with your wishes.
A solicitor’s advice will mean that you have the certainty that your assets will pass to your loved ones without complications, delay or added expense.
If your financial situation, estate or personal wishes aren’t too complex, there is also the option to use Hall Payne’s easy online do-it-yourself wills tool. Developed using Hall Payne’s considerable expertise in helping families secure their future, this tool has been custom designed so that you can develop your own will, in your own time, at a low, fixed cost and still have the confidence that it’s legally binding.
You can challenge a will based on three grounds:
- Where there are questions about a persons mental capacity at the time that they made their will
- When you are disappointed with the contents of the will
- Where you believe that a person made a will whilst under influence of another person.
If you think you may have grounds to challenge a will, please contact our Wills and Estates team so that we can discuss the issues and provide you with relevant advice.
There are strict time limits for challenging wills. If you wish to challenge the contents of a will, you have six months from the date of the deceased’s death to give notice of a challenge, and nine months from the date of death to issue proceedings.
If you believe you have grounds to challenge a will, we recommend you contact our Wills and Estates team to discuss as soon as you can.
Dependant upon whether a person dies with or without a valid will and dependent upon the structure of their assets, a grant of probate or a grant of letters of administration may be required before an executor or administrator has authority to access the deceased person’s assets and finalise their estate.
These documents are not required in all circumstances. We strongly recommend that you contact our Wills and Estates team to determine what is required to be done to properly administer and finalise the estate of your loved ones.
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document that appoints a person to make decisions on your behalf should you lose the capacity to do so for yourself. An enduring power of attorney can apply to your property, legal and financial affairs. You may nominate any, or all, of these areas as areas where your enduring attorney can make decisions on your behalf.
In Queensland, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory you can also give authority to your enduring attorney to make decisions around personal, health and well being matters.
Having an Enduring Power of Attorney in place gives you the comfort of knowing that if something does happen to you, someone you trust has the legal authority to make the decisions that need to be made.
A correctly drafted Enduring Power of Attorney gives the person you nominate the authority to make decisions on your behalf, at any point in time. You can nominate who can make these decisions, what decisions can be made, what should be considered in making any particular decisions, any limitations to making decisions, and when they can start making decisions on your behalf.
Above all else, an Enduring Power of Attorney means you have someone who you have appointed to make these decisions in the way that you would want them to be made.
You can find out more about an Enduring Power of Attorney here.