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a complimentary telephone consultation with one of our Estate Law experts.
Estate Law is our speciality.
Estate law can be a sensitive area. Whether you are planning your estate, establishing a trust, making a claim on an estate or appointing a Power of Attorney for a loved one, you need the services of an estate law expert who will guide you through the process with sensitivity, accuracy and timeliness. At WMD Law, our estate law team is made up of a team of legal experts with extensive experience in all aspects of estate law.
Estate planning is a complex area of law. For many people a simple will is not enough to provide unambiguous instructions for the division of your estate, and to avoid or limit estate claims. Ensuring your legacy benefits your loved ones is vital. WMD Law can help you to understand the numerous options available through testamentary trusts, structuring arrangements and tax minimisation strategies.
The head of our Estate Planning division is an Accredited Specialist in Family Law, so our team also specialises in advising spouses, de factos and extended family members on making and defending estate claims in the Supreme and District Courts.
Estate Law Services – we can assist with:
Download our FREE Guide to
Understanding Estate Planning
Estate planning is an important consideration for all of us. It helps to ensure we are looked after while
we are alive if incapacitated. After your death, effective estate planning will ensure your assets are
transferred according to your wishes in the most tax effective way while protecting those you wish to
benefit. It can be a little confusing navigating Estate Planning so our Estate Planning team have prepared a
plain English guide that explains the various aspects that you need to be aware of.
Estate litigation and estate claims
Under the Succession Act 2006 (NSW) certain classes of people are eligible to make a claim against a deceased person’s estate, if they have not received adequate provision in that person’s will or if a person dies without a will.
We have experience in acting for estates in defending claims and also in acting for claimants to ensure they receive a proper provision from an estate. Claims under the Act must be made within 12 months of the death of the deceased. Only in limited circumstances can a claim be made outside the 12 month window.
Who can apply for a family provision order?
Only people who are “eligible” are able to apply for a family provision order, under the Succession Act 2006 (NSW). The definition of an eligible person is contained within section 57 of the Act. The persons eligible are:
- the wife or husband of the deceased at the date of death;
- a person living in a de facto relationship with the deceased at the date of death;
- children of the deceased (including adopted and ex-nuptial children);
- former spouses of the deceased;
- a person who was at any particular time, wholly or partly dependant upon the deceased and who was
- either a grandchild of the deceased; or
- at that particular time or any other time, a member of a household of which the deceased was a member
- a person who was living in a close personal relationship with the deceased at the time of death.
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is more than just making a simple Will. It is the process of working out the best structure for your personal and financial affairs during your lifetime. It also covers how your personal possessions and financial assets will be distributed after you die.
A good estate plan will allow you to:
• Preserve your wealth during your lifetime
• Generate wealth in a flexible and tax-friendly way
• Ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes after your death, ensuring you meet the needs of your loved ones in a tax effective way.
What if I don’t have a Will?
If a person dies without making a will (they die “intestate”) then their estate will be distributed according to a statutory chain of inheritance contained in the Succession Act 2006 (NSW). This effectively assumes that the deceased person would have intended to benefit their next of kin – their spouse and children however, the proportions are not what most people wish or expect to happen with their assets. For maximum control of your assets after your death you need a Will.
Why have a testamentary trust?
A testamentary trust is a trust established by a will. A testamentary trust can be optional (the beneficiary can choose not to use it), discretionary (the beneficiary decides who will benefit) or fixed or a combination of these. Optional, discretionary testamentary trusts are widely recommended for use in modern wills because of the taxation and asset protection advantages they can offer when compared to a “simple” will.
The use of a testamentary trust in a Will provides beneficiaries with maximum flexibility in dealing with their inheritance. The effectiveness of a testamentary trust will depend upon the specific needs and circumstances of the beneficiaries. WMD Law can advise you on the best way to structure your estate in order to minimise the tax burden for your beneficiaries and protect the inheritance.
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