Wills & Estate Planning

Wills & Estate Planning

A Will sets out how your assets and personal property will be distributed after you die.

To be valid, a Will must be in writing and must be signed and witnessed correctly. It should also be dated, which can be important where there is a dispute as to whether a document is the last Will.

When drafting a Will, you will need to select an executor. This is the person who will administer your estate and distribute the property when you die. It is common, but not essential, to choose a family member to act as your executor with another person to act if that person is unable or unwilling to do so.

Do I need a Will?

When somebody dies without a valid Will, they have died ‘intestate’ and their estate is distributed in accordance with the Administration Act 1903.

The Act provides a formula for the division of the property of a person who has died intestate.

The people who receive property subject to the intestacy rules include:

  • the spouse or de facto partner of the deceased;
  • the children and grandchildren of the deceased;
  • the parents of the deceased;
  • the siblings of the deceased; and
  • sometimes, remoter relatives.

Living Will

You may also want to consider creating an Advance Health Directive (some call this a living will).  Such a document outlines your wishes when you are unable to make choices with respect to your medical care.

Succession Planning

If you own your own business, including agricultural businesses, it is important to have a succession plan. Such a plan may address what will happen in the event of an unexpected death, divorce, disagreement (if the business is a partnership or a family business) or injury. Ensuring that you have an appropriate succession plan can provide protection for you, your family, your employees, and the business itself. Our experienced lawyers can assist in providing tailored advice and solutions to ensure that the impact of unexpected events is minimised. 

Planning for what happens when you die is an important and complex process. Taking the time now to ensure your estate planning is in order will save your family both financially and emotionally when the time comes. We will take the time to understand your unique circumstances and create an estate plan specific to your needs.