Having your wishes accurately recorded in a will is one of the most important things you can do. A well drafted will clearly sets out what should happen with your estate. This can make a difficult time a little easier for your family and loved ones.
Approachable and friendly, as your lawyer we will provide a thoughtful, personal and confidential service. We will take the time to explain everything involved in plain language so that you have the right plan in place to protect your assets, reduce stress on your family and minimise the chances of family dispute.
Modern families can be complicated. It is important that you address previous relationships, new relationships, step-children or grandchildren. Do you want to leave someone a life interest in a property? Do you want to hold assets in trust for minors? Do you have a family trust?
It is imperative you receive quality advice when drafting your will. Mistakes at the time of drafting your will can result in costly court and estate administration costs for your family after your death or increase the chances of a claim being made against your estate.
We also provide a comprehensive estate administration service, assisting executors and families when a loved one has passed. If you are an executor of a will of a loved one that passes, and their will is held by another solicitor, we can make the process of obtaining their will and administering their estate with you, seamless and effortless.
Usually probate will be required, which is the process of proving the will to the High Court and having the will formally accepted as the last will. We can gently guide you through the process, as experiencing the loss of a loved one is hard enough, without having to negotiate legal issues.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who needs a will?
Every adult who has a child or owns a property should have a will. Without a will the law determines how your assets are divided and what happens to the people who depend on you.
Not having a will when you die places a great deal of additional stress on your family. At a time when they are trying to deal with a loss it can be very emotional and difficult to make decisions. Having written wishes makes it so much easier for them and gives them the comfort and satisfaction of knowing that they are doing what you wished.
Can I write my own will or buy a DIY will online?
You can – but beware. “Do it yourself” kits for wills can lead to poorly drafted wills and administrative difficulties for your executor/trustee(s). Common problems with homemade/online DIY wills include; failure to consider how assets are legally owned, failure to take a holistic approach to your affairs and failure to consider laws which allow courts to alter terms of your will, such as the Family Protection Act and Property (Relationship) Act. While technology is fantastic for allowing lawyers to make their services more affordable and accessible, arguably it is dangerous if it is used without, or to replace, professional legal advice. You may be cutting costs by making a DIY will but if it is poorly drafted and has ambiguity, the time and associated costs in sorting those issues could be very significant and expensive.
When should I update my will?
It's important to review your will regularly, say every 5 years, especially after any significant events or changes in your life. Your will is automatically revoked if you marry or re-marry so you must update your will then. Other changes in your life such as welcoming a new baby, ending or starting a relationship, buying or selling a home or business, establishing a family trust or a name change may also require revision of your will.
I have been asked to be an executor of a friend’s will, what does this mean?
When someone makes a will, they need to appoint an executor(s). An executor(s) is the person/people who, on the death of the will maker, act as the will makers representative and ensures the wishes set out in their will are followed.
Some tasks of an executor include assisting with funeral arrangements, notifying beneficiaries in the will, confirming and distributing assets, paying debts and closing accounts. The first step for an executor is usually to see a lawyer to help with the process of obtaining probate, the term used for obtaining the legal authority to deal with the estate of the deceased.
Usually a family member, close friend or a professional is chosen for this important role. Being chosen as an executor of someone’s will is an honour. But it’s also a significant responsibility. We can work with you and help you in this role.
I am the executor of my father’s will, do I have to use the law firm that holds his will to administer his estate?
No. The executor(s) (the person(s) appointed in the will to administer the estate) are free to choose which lawyer or law firm they would like to use to assist them with the administration of the deceased’s estate and, primarily, to obtain probate (the term used for obtaining the legal authority to deal with the estate of the deceased). The process of uplifting a will and using a different lawyer to assist with the administration of an estate is an easy process. We would be happy to help.
Suzie clearly delivered to myself and others a focused and friendly approach to all the issues presented to her. We had some older family member matters to resolve; Wills, Trust issues, License to Occupy, etc.. Suzie provided exceptional service, concise and sound advice which we accepted and followed through in the execution of the required legal documents. Suzie is professional, focused and pragmatic in providing intelligent legal solutions and recommendations.
Our family has used Rosie for everything from wills and family trusts to house purchases and sales. I can absolutely recommend her, she is easy to deal with, communicates well, makes things simple and to top it off is a lovely person to work with.
“Rosie helped us with our wills and powers of attorney and she made it such an easy process for us. She gave us a lot of advice and explained different ways we could do it, all along with a friendly professionalism. I cannot recommend her enough and will definitely be using her services in the future.”