Wills and Estates

Speaking with a BDB estates lawyer gives you the peace of mind that your affairs are in order and the estate will be administered in the most effective way, without personal anguish and expense.

None of us know what is around the corner, which is why it is important to ensure that you are prepared for anything. Meeting with a wills lawyer and using an estates lawyer to plan how your estate will be distributed gives you a say in what happens to your assets upon your death.

We have worked with generations of families in our region to address their concerns, assess relevant issues and provide sensible, practical and candid advice about the full range of options available to them. Our service is professional, cost effective and personal.

Estate Planning

Estate planning is the process of ensuring that when the time is right your wealth is transferred in accordance with your wishes. Proper estate planning is required to protect vulnerable family members and to minimise the risk of losing valuable assets.

Although a will and enduring power of attorney are important elements of an estate plan, proper estate planning also includes strategies such as:

  • superannuation binding death benefit nominations;
  • securing succession to the role of trustee and appointor for trusts in the event of death or incapacity; and
  • securing control of companies and partnership interests in the event of death or incapacity.

Wills and Estates

Wills

Preparing a valid Will is the best way to ensure that once we pass away our family members are properly provided for and the likelihood of estate disputes occurring is reduced. Sometimes, life throws up challenging and stressful circumstances that will require us to make important decisions about a family member or loved one.

Whilst Bell Dixon Butler has long focussed on elder law and Legal Care for Seniors, succession planning should embrace every member of the community so that they have a say in how their assets and children are cared about in the event of an untimely death.

In a time of extended families, superannuation, life insurance, or remarriage, you need to know what the law is, how to arrange your affairs so as to secure for your loved ones the best possible outcome of these competing areas. For example, superannuation without a nominated beneficiary is a discretionary matter for the Trustee of the fund. Do you know how the Trustee of your fund is likely to distribute the superannuation benefits. Is it the same for the life insurance component attached to your fund.

This is equally important for any person over 18 because many superannuation funds have a life insurance component and given the vulnerability of people under the age of 25 to traffic accidents and other calamities, it is important they have regard to these matters.

Even if you don’t believe you have an obvious dependent, you may still prefer to decide how assets are left rather than allowing the intestacy rules to stipulate what occurs, or the government agency managing that estate.

The cost of doing a Will or Enduring Power of Attorney is miniscule in comparison to the costs, delay and possible trauma suffered by the family if you die without a valid Will. The trend of do it yourself we find creates more work for lawyers and the Court in trying to understand what was really intended. Lawyers don’t build their houses or do their own surgery and we do not recommend that clients do their own Wills or other legal transactions.

What is a Will?

A Will is a legal document which records your intentions as to who receives your assets, who will manage your affairs and who will look after your children after your death.

When to Make a New Will

Even if you already have a Will, you should consider making a new Will:-

  • If you have just got married as marriage revokes all earlier Wills . You can however make a Will in contemplation of marriage.
  • If you have separated from, divorced or lost a spouse.
  • If you have ended a de facto relationship.
  • When you have a child.
  • If you have recently inherited money, shares, a house, etc.