At Adelta Legal we treat each client’s situation as unique and tailor our advice and prepare documentation to meet your individual requirements.
We understand that you want straight forward no-nonsense advice and documentation which will make things easier for your chosen beneficiaries in the future. Sometimes this involves a joint approach with your accountant or financial planner – we are happy to work with your other advisers to ensure that your overall estate plan is cohesive and practical.
Adelta Legal has assisted in the estate planning of several generations of families. We have extensive experience in assisting whether it be simple or complex, testamentary or other trusts or blended family situations. To ensure that your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets is clearly set out, talk to one of our Wills & Estate Planning lawyers, Tony Rice, Alison Evenden, Melissa Yule, Catherine Schettini and Michael Giglio, they will be more than happy to discuss your needs.
In each case, we will give you an estimate of our fees at the first meeting. For standard documents we charge on a scale of fixed fees. We also cater for urgent situations and are available to visit clients who are unable to attend at either of our offices.
Many people consider that making a will is only necessary when you get to the “twilight years”. However, none of us know what fate has in store for us and without a will, you may be causing those you care about unnecessary stress, delay and expense. Making a will is easy, affordable and not as traumatic as you may think.
Why Should I Make A Will
- To make sure the people you want to benefit will do so. If you have no will, the law decides who benefits. In some cases it is a lottery as to which members of your family or your spouse’s family will inherit.
- To choose who is to be the executor(s) and in control of making decisions. These people may also be the trustees of money for children.
- To make specific gifts.
- To ensure a straightforward process of handling your affairs.
- To name guardians of children.
- To give flexibility to the executor in the way your estate is administered.
- To enable your estate to be distributed in the most tax-effective way.
- Where you want to make provision for beneficiaries with special needs or circumstances.
What About Superannuation?
You may not realise that money invested in some superannuation funds is not yours to control if you die. The trustees of the Fund usually have some discretion as to where to pay the money under the terms of the Deed setting up the scheme. They can pay it to whoever you have nominated as a beneficiary but they are not legally obliged to do so unless you have made a Binding Death Benefit Nomination which are not offered as options by all funds. They can decide to pay it to your estate and then your will deals with who will benefit. Either way you should notify them of your preferred way of dealing with the money. If you are not certain what the rules of your Fund are then it is important to find out before you make a will as it may have an impact on what you decide to do.
What Is My Estate?
Your will can only operate over assets that are in your estate. Anything that is owned jointly with someone else will automatically pass to the other person unless it is held as “tenants in common”. Assets in family trusts, companies or superannuation are not automatically covered by your will. If you are involved in these arrangements it is important to get advice about the ways of ensuring these assets pass to whom you wish to benefit.
What About Will Kits?
The “homemade” will can be an unwittingly expensive and disastrous step due to uncertainty or ambiguity of words used, misunderstanding or ignorance of legal implications of gifts and not completing it correctly. All of these cause delay and expense for your family. The cost of a properly drawn will is not that expensive when compared with the costs of fixing up problems caused by “homemade” wills.
What About Trustee Companies?
If the Public Trustee or one of the other trustee companies has made your will, they are often appointed your executors and charge a reasonably high commission when handling your estate. They may also be less flexible in how assets are to be distributed and are likely to take far longer to finish the administration of your estate. Their fees are usually far more than legal expenses would be if you choose a private executor who has advice and help from your lawyer.
Who Can Be An Executor?
Anyone over the age of 18 can be appointed an executor. The role of the executor is to be impartial to the interests of beneficiaries and to undertake the administration of the estate. Commonly spouses are initially each other’s executor with others being appointed on the death of both of them. A common misconception is that beneficiaries cannot be executors. This is incorrect. It is common for beneficiaries to also be the executors. Whoever is executor is the person who has the power to make the decisions about disposal or distribution of assets. You may wish to nominate more than one person to act in this role. If so, all executors must agree on all aspects of the administration of the estate
What If I Want To Cut Someone Out Of My Will?
All the lawyers at Adelta Legal are experienced in all aspects of estate planning, including giving advice on situations where you have reason to exclude or reduce a benefit to someone who might be expecting to inherit from you. Our experience with contested wills means we see these situations from all angles – in particular, we see what can go wrong and we can prepare your documents to prevent that happening when it comes to your estate.
How Do I Organise A Will?
Make an appointment to discuss your affairs with one of our friendly staff who will lead you through the process and help you decide how to set up your will and/or Power of Attorney. They will deal with issues such as joint property or investments, superannuation, trusts for children and grandchildren, second marriages, step-children, challenges of wills and estate planning for the next generation. You should review your affairs every 3 – 5 years or on a major change of circumstances. An out of date will can be as bad as no will at all in some cases and cause unnecessary heartache and expense for your family.
Whenever you make a will you should also consider matters such as Enduring Powers of Attorney and Advance Care Directives. We consider these documents to be at least as important as your will – as these documents come into effect while you are still alive. These documents must be drafted carefully to ensure that you appoint people that you can trust to make financial and health decisions for you if you are unable to do so for yourself. We can advise you what is best in your situation.