Wills & Estates

 

Wills

Having an up to date Will is a really important way of making sure that your family and loved ones are taken care of – even after you die.

A legal Will is a document that names the people you want to receive the things that you own after you die.  lf you don’t have a Will, all of your assets (including your property, car, jewellery, furniture and any money left in your bank accounts) will be distributed according to a rigid formula and not necessarily in the way that you would have wanted.

At Rafton Family Lawyers we can work with you to make sure that your Will is kept up to date and valid, even after significant changes in your life (such as divorce, buying or selling a house or re-marrying).  We can help you to protect your loved ones and provide advice on how to write a Will that will cater for even the most complex family situations including blended families, difficult relationships and family members with special care needs or disabilities.

Estate Administration

If you have been named as an Executor in a Will, you will be responsible for making sure that the estate of the deceased is distributed according to his/her wishes, or as set out in the Will.  This is an important role that can also involve obtaining a Grant of Probate (authority to carry out the affairs of the deceased person) identifying the person’s assets, arranging  for their collection, paying any outstanding expenses, finding the beneficiaries  named in the Will, and making sure you comply with all of the legal and taxation requirements.

The experienced team at Rafton Family Lawyers can provide help and guidance during the administration of the Estate, acting on behalf of the Executor to make sure that everything runs as smoothly as possible and complies with all requirements.

We can also assist you with claiming death benefits on superannuation after a loved one passes away.

Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship Appointments

A Power of Attorney is a legal tool that allows someone you trust to act on your behalf if you are absent (eg. overseas) or if you become unable to act for yourself through mental or physical incapacity.  You are able to appoint one or more people as your Attorney as long as they are over the age of 18 and legally able to fulfil the role.

We can help you to select the most appropriate person and prepare the Power of Attorney documentation for you to sign.  Most importantly, we can explain the responsibilities of an Attorney and the situations in which they may be needed.

Whilst a Power of Attorney allows someone to act on your behalf in financial and legal situations, an Enduring Guardian appointment gives someone the right to make medical and welfare related decisions on your behalf.  We can also provide advice and guidance in the preparation of these documents.

Disputes over a Will or Contested Estates

Occasionally, family members or others believe that they have been unfairly treated in a Will – either having been left out of the Will or that they have not received their full ‘entitlement’.  When there is a dispute over the contents of a Will and a claim is made against the provisions of the Will it is called a ‘contested estate’.

At Rafton Family Lawyers we have experienced solicitors and litigators who can help.  We can provide advice on making a claim against a Will, or contesting an estate, as well as defending an estate against a claim.  There are strict regulations concerning eligibility to make a claim against an estate and our team can provide comprehensive and practical advice to support you during what can be a very difficult and emotional time.

Read our plain English handbooks

These fact sheets are designed to provide an overview of the relevant issues and systems so that you have a better understanding of the process.