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Wills, Probate & Estates

‘Death keeps no calendar’ – English Proverb

In a world that is ever changing, where the common nuclear family no longer represents the norm, it is important to ensure that all of your hard earned assets are protected upon your death and distributed to the proper people in accordance with your wishes.  As difficult as it may be to plan for your own death, it is often the choices you make now that guarantees the safety and stability of your loved ones well into their future.

Dying without a valid Will (that is, dying intestate)

Unfortunately many people die without having made a valid Will (that is, dying intestate), or otherwise prepare a Will which does not make adequate provision for those that it ought to.  Most Wills may be valid however a large percentage of homemade (DIY do it yourself) Wills fail to be executed properly in which case they are deemed to be invalid resulting in an earlier Will taking priority or the laws of intestacy applying.

In the event that you die without having a valid Will, the laws of intestacy where your assets are located are likely to apply to distribute your estate in that jurisdiction according to a statutory formula.  Even if you believe you have common family, and simple financial holdings, your estate may not be divided according to your wishes as you have not formally specified who your beneficiaries and executor(s) are to be and how your estate is to be distributed. 

It can be expensive and time consuming to deal with the numerous legal issues that arise in administering the estate if you pass away without a valid Will.  For example, there may be significant taxation ramifications on your estate and, subsequently, your beneficiaries.  Dying without a valid Will may also lead to a number of challenges to your estate from various people who believe they have a right to claim part of your estate upon your death.  Such challenges and issues will undoubtedly delay your loved one’s obtaining closure from your death.

At Lloyd Meridian Legal we understand the importance of planning for the future and we have a team of experienced lawyers who are able to assist you in the protection of your hard earned assets and who can also draft your Will to your specifications.  Our firm has a multitude of experience to draw from when drafting both simple and complex Wills and will use that experience to help ensure that it reflects your current circumstances and is legally sound.  In addition, as a complimentary service, we can retain original Wills in safe custody for you.

Keeping your Will up-to-date

If you already have a Will, we recommend that your Will is reviewed every 3 to 4 years and updated to reflect any changes in circumstances, such as marriages, separations, births, retirement, deaths or even purchases of major assets.  Lloyd Meridian Legal can assist you in reviewing your existing Will so that it reflects your current circumstances so as to avoid leaving part of your estate to unintended beneficiaries.

Foreigners, Australian Assets and Wills

If you are a foreigner with local Australian assets and you have drafted a foreign Will it may only deal with your local Australian assets if it conforms with the relevant legislation.  The applicable law varies depending on the domicile of the deceased, where the Will was executed and the location of the assets and as a result there are often different legislation, rules, protocols, practices and time limits which may apply to the distribution of the deceased’s estate.  

For this reason, we highly recommend that foreigners have an ‘Australian assets only Will’ drafted so as to deal specifically with the local Australian assets as distinct from their non-Australian assets which may be dealt with by their foreign Will.  This requires careful drafting and should only be done by an experienced lawyer familiar with the area as it can result in your later Australian Will revoking your former foreign Will thus resulting in your foreign assets being exposed to intestacy laws in the foreign jurisdiction.

If you would like to meet with us, we have lawyers and representatives from our office travelling throughout South East Asia regularly who can assist you on a more personal level or you can telephone us to discuss your matter directly.

Powers of Attorney

A Power of Attorney may be as an important life planning document as your Will.  This ensures that the person of your choosing is appointed as your attorney or guardian and can make legal, medical, financial and housing decisions in your best interests.  Lloyd Meridian Legal can arrange special purpose Powers of Attorney or enduring Powers of Attorney (medical, financial and guardianship).  In addition, as a complimentary service, we can retain originals of your Powers of Attorney in safe custody indefinitely.

Probate

Probate is an application before the Supreme Court proving that the last valid Will and Testament of the deceased is in fact their last Will and Testament and confirms the executor’s authority to administer the estate.  Once Probate has been granted to the executor named in the last Will the property of the deceased then vests in the executor and that executor is able to deal with the property in accordance with the terms of the last Will.

An application for probate may be the single most confusing aspect of administering a person’s estate after they pass, especially at a time which is undoubtedly filled with sorrow and stress.  It is important to ensure that a skilled person handles this matter so that there are no unnecessary delays.

At Lloyd Meridian Legal, we work hard to ensure that your application for probate will be approved as soon as possible.  We understand the intricacies of the Supreme Court and how they handle probate applications and we use our best endeavours to ensure the file is handled in a timely and efficient manner.  Our firm also has extensive experience in dealing with the transfer of assets,  for example selling any business interests, shares, units, organising the release of securities and attending to any restructure (if required, as part of administering the estate).

Wills disputes

Our deceased estate lawyers appreciate the importance of maintaining family relationships and in the case of Will disputes Lloyd Meridian Legal will attempt to resolve the dispute without the need to issue formal legal proceedings.  In our experience, most Will disputes can be settled at or before mediation, minimising the costs and strain on family relationships.

Competitive fixed pricing

Our costs are generally fixed based on a set scope of works, as opposed to open-ended hourly quotes which may see your legal costs skyrocket to an unmanageable level.  As a sign of good faith, your first consultation is complimentary so we may discuss how we can help you and the best way to move forward – please feel free to book a complimentary appointment or teleconference by contacting us on:

Phone: +61 3 9629 6388
Email: mail@lloydmeridian.com
Skype: lloyd.meridian.legal.phone

List of Services: 

Lloyd Meridian Legal‘s wills, probate and estates services include the following areas:

Wills & Estate Planning

We are able to provide personal, professional and cost effective advice on how to plan for the future of your loved ones, including:

  • preparation of simple and complex Wills (including advice with respect to executors and beneficiaries);
  • advice and considerations in respect of guardianship of children;
  • drafting codicils (amendments to Wills);
  • superannuation advice;
  • establishment of trusts;
  • structuring and re-structuring advice (including, asset protection);
  • advice in respect of asset valuations;
  • drafting general powers of attorney and enduring powers of attorney (medical, financial and guardianship);
  • buy/sell agreements;
  • Family Trusts and Testamentary Trusts;
  • advice in respect of life insurance policies;
  • management arrangements; and
  • handcuff agreements.

Probate

If you are an executor of an estate, it may be difficult to keep track and satisfy your obligations as the executor.  However, having the assistance of a qualified lawyer can be an enormous assistance.  We employ a number of experienced lawyers who will be able to assist you in managing your estate in obtaining probate and administering your assets in accordance with your Will, including:

  • obtaining the Grant of Probate;
  • obtaining Letters of Administration (in the event that a Will is deemed invalid or when there is a valid Will but the executor is not acting because of death, renunciation or otherwise unable to carry out their duties);
  • defending contested Wills;
  • estate planning;
  • estate administration
  • transfer and sale of assets, including:
    • businesses;
    • shares;
    • real estate;
    • trust units; and
    • property (other than property held in joint tenancy by the deceased as it automatically passes to the survivor(s));
  • retitling the deceased’s assets into the names of the estate beneficiaries;
  • arranging for valuation of personal property; and
  • arranging for release of securities.