Are you looking for advice and representation in a Wills and Estates law issue?
Wills and estate planning are a core part of Dawson and Gardiner’s services. We have many years of experience looking after simple and complex wills and estate planning needs. We provide advice and offer personal service that is both cost effective and practical.
At Dawson and Gardiner Solicitors we won’t just prepare a Will and associated documents for you, we sit down with you to discuss your specific personal situation and determine the best arrangement to ensure you protect both your assets and your family and friends.
Services Provided by our Wills and Estate Lawyers
At Dawson & Gardiner Solicitors, our wills and estate lawyers are highly skilled at providing effective advice and representation on a range of wills and estate law matters including:
- contested Wills and Estate Disputes
- Probate and Administration of Deceased Estates
- Wills, Enduring Powers of Attorney and Appointments of Enduring Guardians
- Testamentary Trusts and Asset Protection
- Superannuation and Estates
How Can We Help with Your Will or Estate Planning?
At Dawson & Gardiner Solicitors we have successfully acted for executors/administrators in defending claims and also applicants. Our lawyers will give you an early assessment of the merits of your case if the relevant facts are available and outline to you your prospects of success or risks if you want to pursue your claim.
Specifically we can help with:
- “Demystifying” the estate planning and Will making processes with plain English explanations
- Keeping safe custody of your Will
- Preparing Powers of Attorney
- Preparing Enduring Guardianship appointments
- Administration of your Estate
- Making claims or defending claims upon an Estate
- Setting up Trusts
Contested Wills and Estate Disputes
Some deceased estates will turn into a contested estate. We are noticing an increasing number of estate disputes arising so you are not alone if you find yourself in this situation. This increase in disputes may be partly attributed to the overall greater wealth in estates, an aging population and the prevalence of blended families.
The most common reasons for a dispute in an estate to turn litigious are:
- A family member or other person with a “special relationship” that have been left out of the will or perceive they have been inadequately provided for under a will can make what is called a family provision claim against the estate.
- There is a dispute regarding the capacity of the will maker at the time of making the will.
- There is an allegation that the executor or administrator of the estate is behaving inappropriately and should be removed.
Probate and Administration of Deceased Estates
Finalising the administration of a deceased estate can be a long and difficult process. The nature of the assets in the estate will determine the amount of work required, and whether the deceased left a will or died intestate (without a will).
If you are an executor or administrator of an estate, it is important to ensure that the estate is administered properly and in accordance with the law otherwise you could be held personally liable for any loss suffered by the beneficiaries.
Wills, Enduring Powers of Attorney and Appointments of Enduring Guardians
Proper estate planning encompasses much more than just having a will in place. The process may seem complicated however our wills and estate lawyers have many years experience and will guide you step by step through the process. The modern day estate plan will require reviewing such matters as your enduring powers of attorney, appointments of enduring guardians and a consideration of any binding death benefit nominations in relation to your superannuation
At Dawson and Gardiner we will take the time to ensure that your estate plan is appropriate for your circumstances.
Testamentary Trusts and Asset Protection
Asset protection is very important to many people and is about protecting your assets so that the people you want to receive them will receive them.
Asset protection can be of particular concern to you if, for example, you have family members who may have marital problems, is in a profession or occupation with high risk of being sued or you are concerned that somebody may challenge your will.
At Dawson and Gardiner we have solicitors who are experienced in advising on asset protection and how you may be able to restructure your assets to strengthen your Will.
What is a testamentary trust and why would we set one up?
In simple terms a testamentary trust is a type of trust created by your will after you die. Testamentary trusts are set up in order to hold assets and are overseen by a nominated trustee, who eventually distribute the trust’s assets to beneficiaries. This means that assets in your estate instead of being left directly to your family members will be left to a testamentary trust in which some or all of your family members will be the beneficiaries of the testamentary trust.
Testamentary Trusts can be beneficial in the following circumstances:
- If you have young beneficiaries or other beneficiaries that you have concerns about that would waste their inheritance.
- If you have beneficiaries who would benefit from protection of their assets in case of bankruptcy risk or family law marital splits.
- If there are sufficient assets in your estate which would make it feasible and desirable to hold the assets in a testamentary trust for tax planning purposes.
Superannuation and Estates
As superannuation is not legally considered part of a deceased estate, claiming superannuation death benefits is something that you may need help with.
Contrary to what many people assume, death benefits from a super fund are not distributed to the beneficiaries named in the will along with the assets of the estate. If you wish to direct who will get your super upon your death, you must sign a binding death benefit nomination (BDBN). If you die without signing a nomination, then your super is usually paid at the discretion of the trustee of the superannuation fund.
Another reason for signing a nomination is to minimise the tax that can fall on superannuation, depending on who is to receive it. If the deceased is receiving a pension from the superannuation fund, it may be beneficial to use a nomination to enable a beneficiary, such as a spouse, to continue to receive the same pension as the deceased had been receiving. All of these factors apply equally to large funds and to self-managed superannuation funds.
A binding death benefit nomination is a simple document, to ensure that your wishes are carried out, and that no unnecessary tax is paid.