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WILLS & ESTATE LAWYERS

As the saying goes, you can only be sure of two things in life, death, and taxes.  Dying without a Will means there are no directions as to how your assets, debts and even the care of your children should be handled after your death.  Our deaths have a profound impact on our loved ones and with a Will in place conflict between your loved ones can be minimised if not avoided altogether.  Make no mistake, a Will is the most important document you will ever create in your life.

WHY IS A WILL SO IMPORTANT?

Should you die without a Will it can be a very expensive and a long court procedure to administer your estate.  That means your loved ones (Beneficiaries) who were destined to receive an inheritance, might miss out, or the amount left to them will be eroded by expensive court proceedings.

Most Wills are simple and cost effective. Your Will can even direct how any outstanding debts are to be paid.  Your Estate means all your things, possessions and assets that you would like to leave as gifts to your loved ones (your Beneficiaries).

Sometimes Wills are not so simple. If you have a child or children less than 18 years of age, it is recommended that a Testamentary Trust is created for them.  It sounds complex however a Testamentary Trust is basically an instruction to the Executor and Trustee to keep your monies and assets in your Estate until such time as your child or children reach the age of 18 years.  Some parents suggest that children should only receive their inheritance when they are 25 years or older. However, this is a matter entirely up to you but can only be achieved by having a Will.

Another requirement is that you must name someone to be the Executor of your Will.  Your Executor has many important duties, such as paying your debts, so choose someone that can be trusted to ensure that your loved ones receive their inheritance.

Your Trustee may also be appointed and they have very important duties, such as keeping your money and assets safe until such time as your beneficiaries are old enough to inherit your possessions.

Probate is another important procedure that applies to your Will.  Kingsley Lawson Lawyers are experienced Probate lawyers who have acted on behalf of individuals, Executors, Trustees, Beneficiaries and Administrators.

The Executor of a Will, may when required, send to the Supreme Court your Will and other documents, like the death certificate.  If all is found to be in order then Probate is granted to the Executor of the Estate.

Once Probate is granted by the Court, this means that the Executor may begin to gift the possessions and monies left to your beneficiaries and to do all other administrative duties.

Probate does not always need to be applied for in every situation. For instance, if the value of the Estate is minimal, or there is no real estate or land, then often it might only be a couple of bank accounts that require being closed.

If you do not have a Will, at the time of your death, you are said to have died Intestate.

Without a Will, your Estate cannot be distributed, until Letters of Administration have been granted by the Court.

In the event that you do not have a Will, then there is the expensive and often lengthy procedure of a loved one applying to the Court for what is known as Letters of Administration.

Basically, someone who has an interest in your Estate, whether as a beneficiary or a close family member, can apply to the Supreme Court to become the Administrator of your Estate.

Much like the Executor who is granted Probate, the Administrator is granted Letters of Administration.  The Administrator performs similar duties like an Executor.

The major difference though, is that when your Estate is distributed by Letters of Administration, only those persons as declared by the law, can receive an inheritance from your Estate.  These include persons with an order of priority, such as your spouse, children, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and first cousins.

This is the reason why it is so important to have a Will that has been signed in the presence of two witnesses (aged 18 years or over) and those witnesses do not receive any benefit or gifts from your Will.

IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS THAT ASSIST WITH PLANNING YOUR ESTATE

Power of Attorney and

Enduring Power of Attorney

Enduring Guardianship

Advanced Health Care Directive

Another document which is important is a Power of Attorney. Should you wish to travel overseas for an extended duration or in the event that you become unwell, your Attorney is someone trusted that you appoint.  You are known as the Principal in the Power of Attorney document.  The Attorney can pay your debts and be granted access your bank accounts to assist with other financial matters.

It is important to know that a Power of Attorney can be registered with Land Registry Services (LRS) which then enables the Attorney to create dealings relating to the land whether it be mortgages, leases or transfers (sale) being the conveyance of title and land.

There are two other personal documents that you may wish to have as well.  One is the Enduring Guardianship and the other is an Advanced Health Care Directive.  This is in the event you were to become so unwell and unable to look after yourself then those closest to you, and that you appointed, can assist with where you would live and what type of health care you will receive.

CONTESTING A WILL

There are a variety of ways a Will can be contested, but only by speaking to one of our specialist lawyers can we determine your eligibility to do so.  You may be able to challenge a Will if:

You are related to the person who died;

The deceased did not have the mental capacity when the Will was created

The deceased had prepared a subsequent Will to the Will seeking to be administered

You were living, or have previously lived with the deceased

You were receiving monies from the deceased on a regular basis prior to their death

Kingsley Lawson Lawyers are experienced Wills and Estate lawyers who are experts in Disputing a Will and negotiating settlements in your favor.  Contact us today on 1800 96 00 96 for obligation-free legal advice.

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