The trusts and estates practice ranges from routine Wills to complex plans for large estates and to special comprehensive estate planning for young professionals and executives.
Contesting of Wills
Contesting of Wills is becoming more common in the courts. Often will makers fail to make reasonable provision in their Wills for dependants. There can also be questions about the mental capacity of persons when they make Wills or if they are placed under undue pressure or influence by potential beneficiaries. Cranston McEachern are able to assist you in representation if there is to be a contest of a Will or if this is being resisted.
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Many people spend time and money ensuring that their estate will be administered properly on their death but do not consider granting a power of attorney.
What is a power of attorney?
A power of attorney is a formal instrument that authorizes a person to act for another, particularly to sign legally binding documents on behalf of the donor of that authority . Powers of attorney stand alone, but are often prepared in conjunction with a Will.
Why is a power of attorney useful?
If you were to have an accident that left you incapacitated, it would be important that someone could deal with your affairs on your behalf where necessary. There are many situations where this might be necessary. For example, there may be a need to pay expensive medical bills for your care. In such a situation it would be useful if someone who you trust could access your funds or assets in order to pay those bills.
How do I get a power of attorney?
Being a formal instrument you need a lawyer to help create a power of attorney for you. The process is very simple - a short meeting where you and the person you choose to be your attorney sign the document.
Who should I choose to be my attorney?
It is generally best to choose someone who you trust and who will have the ability to deal with your affairs should the need arise. It is common for husbands and wives or for partners to nominate each other as their attorneys. It is also common for someone to choose one or more of their children (must be over 18).
To ask further questions or to arrange for a power of attorney to be executed, contact us.
Making a Will is about more than acknowledging your mortality. It is a way of acknowledging those who matter to you in life, and of providing peace of mind for both you and those you care about. Drawing up a Will ensures that your assets will be distributed in the correct manner; that a person you trust is appointed to carry-out your wishes, and that other details such as funeral arrangements are carried out as you would want.
In Queensland, if you do not have a written Will, your assets will be distributed in accordance with rules which are known as the Intestacy Rules. Primarily, the rules set out how your assets will be divided between family members. Basically, they will pay no heed to your wishes as to the division of your assets between family members.
While a Will must be in writing to be valid, there is no legal requirement that a solicitor draw up your will - anyone over 18 (or under 18 years if married) and of sound mind can have a Will, and can write it themselves. In many circumstances it is preferable, however, that a solicitor have input into the writing of your Will because
it is easy to make a mistake. And if you make a mistake drawing up your Will, you might make the Will invalid in its entirety (or in part), or you might give affect to a distribution of your estate other than you intended.
It is particularly important that you have input from a solicitor if you have a large number of assets, or you want to put complicated arrangements in place. A more complicated distribution of your assets includes instances where you wish to give assets to a person or an institution ahead of your immediate family, or where you want to give assets to a child (this could, for example, involve the establishment of a trust).