Area of Practice:
Wills, Estates and Trusts
Planning for the future may be something we do not think about, however, in order to protect our loved ones and ourselves, it is vital to plan for a possible future when we may not be able to make decisions for ourselves, as well as for the time when we will no longer be here. This is why it is important to have in place a valid Will, Appointment of Enduring Guardian, and Power of Attorney. We at Lexington Law can prepare these vital documents for you.
Alternatively, if a loved one has passed on, we at Lexington Law can assist clients with the administration of estates assist clients with all of the legal requirements involved in administering the estate, ensuring that we treat our clients with empathy and consideration at this difficult time.
If you feel that you have not been left a fair share in the will of someone close to you, we at Lexington Law can also advise you regarding your entitlement to make a claim for further provision out of the estate.
Our lawyers have considerable experience and accept instructions in the following areas:
Wills and Estate Planning
- Wills and Estate Planning
A Will is a document that takes effect on death and sets out the deceased person’s wishes regarding their property as well as other wishes such as their cremation or burial instructions. A Will can be a simple document or it can be quite complex especially when concerned with the operation of businesses or the creation of Trusts. At Lexington Law, we have many years of practical experience in the preparation of wills including advising you in simple terms throughout the process.
Powers of Attorney
- Powers of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a document that authorises one or more people to act on your behalf in relation to financial or legal matters. This includes the operation of bank accounts, the entering into of contracts or even the acquisition or disposal of property. A Power of Attorney can be general or can specifically relate to certain assets or be limited to a certain period of time. A Power of Attorney can be prepared so that it continues to operate if you lose mental capacity. This is known as an Enduring Power of Attorney. If you do not have a valid Enduring Power of Attorney and are unable to make decisions for yourself, an Application may need to be made to the Guardianship Tribunal by those close to you so that someone can be appointed to manage your affairs. This can be a costly and time intensive exercise. At Lexington Law, we will explain all of the different options and the legal effect of granting a Power of Attorney. We will then prepare a Power of Attorney that is in accordance with your requirements.
Appointments of Enduring Guardian
- Appointments of Enduring Guardian
This is a document that will allow one or more persons to make decisions about personally about your lifestyle, including deciding where you live, what services are received by you and what medical treatment you undergo. If you do not have a valid Appointment of Enduring Guardian and are unable to make decisions for yourself, an Application may need to be made to the Guardianship Tribunal so that someone can be appointed to manage your affairs. This can be a costly and time intensive exercise. If this occurs, you will not have a choice as to who this person might be. By preparing a valid Appointment of Enduring Guardian you get to chose the person or persons who will make decisions for you should the need arise. We can advise you fully and prepare an Appointment of Enduring Guardian that gives you peace of mind that the required care can be provided to you without delay if needed.
Applications for Probate
- Applications for Probate
If someone close to you has passed away and they have left a Will, we at Lexington Law can undertake the process of obtaining Probate of the Will from the Supreme Court. Probate literally means the certification of the Will as the last Will and Testament of the deceased and the granting of authority to the Executor to carry out the instructions set out in the Will. In the event that someone else has been appointed Executor under a Will but is unable or unwilling to act, we can advise you as to whether you might be entitled to be appointed Administrator of the Will in order to enable you to administer the Estate. At Lexington Law, we have considerable experience in the preparation and lodgement of the relevant documents with the Supreme Court.
Applications for Letters of Administration
- Applications for Letters of Administration
In cases where no valid Will was left or an appointed cannot act, an Application will need to be made for the grant of Letters of Administration. This involves the Supreme Court appointing someone to act so as to give effect to Will or the Rules of Intestacy in the event that there is no valid Will. At Lexington Law, we have considerable experience in the preparation and lodgement of the relevant documents with the Supreme Court.
- Estate Administration
Once the Supreme Court has granted either Probate or Letters of Administration, the Executor/Administrator will then need to administer the Estate. This involves collecting and realising the assets such as Shares, Bank Deposits, Term Deposits and other investments. We at Lexington Law can help with the preparation of the relevant documents and the collection or realisation of the assets. We can then attend to the payment of all debts and the distribution of legacies under the Will or according to Law. We can also assist you by guarding against anyone pursuing you in the future in relation to the decisions that you have made regarding the administration of the Estate.
Transfer of Assets
- Transfer of Assets
Following the grant of Probate or Letters of Administration it may be necessary to deal with the assets of the estate by transferring them. This may include a transfer of real estate such a Home or an Investment Property We at Lexington Law can advise you and prepare all necessary documentation including appropriate Stamp Duty exemption documentation if required. In some cases, assets can be transferred without the need for the grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. This can mean saving literally thousands of dollars and possibly even months of time. We can advise you, gather the necessary information and prepare the required documentation
Family Provisions Claims and Estate Litigation
- Family Provisions Claims and Estate Litigation
If you at some stage a dependant of someone who has passed away but have not been properly provided for in that persons Will, you may be entitled to make an Application for you to be properly provided for out of the Estate. The Court will consider a number of matters before making any decision, including:
- • the nature of your relationship to the deceased,;
- • what, if any, obligations the deceased had towards you,;
- • the provisions in the Will,;
- • your needs whether financial or otherwise, ; and
- • any reasons given by the deceased for not properly providing for you.
We at Lexington Law can ask you the relevant questions, advise you as to your prospects, gather the necessary documents and make an Application to the Supreme Court on your behalf
You may need to arrange your affairs by the creation of one or more Trusts. This can be for any number of reasons including the protection of assets from claims, the continued operation of businesses and the distribution of income. They can be Tax effective vehicles and although we do not give Taxation Advice we at Lexington Law can work closely with your Accountant or other Financial Advisor in the establishment of Trusts. Trusts can be prepared to take effect while you are alive in which case they are termed “Inter Vivos Trusts”, or once you have died in which case they are termed “Testamentary Trusts”. If you are considering establishing one or more Trusts please arrange to see one of our senior lawyers so that we at Lexington Law may properly advise you and prepare the necessary documentation