WILLS AND ESTATES

But as solicitors who work with grieving and stressed families, we cannot stress enough that drafting a will and planning for illness and incapacity is a gift that you give to your loved ones.

Denise Maxwell Solicitors can help you with planning for anything that might happen, and the one thing that definitely will. We can also help you to administer a deceased estate, or to contest the terms of a will if it was unfair to you.

No matter what the circumstances are, we will always ensure that we are in our client’s corner and we are strong advocates for our clients.

OUR WILLS AND ESTATES TEAM

NICOLA BOWES

 

Nicola works across Wills and Estates, Family Law, Conveyancing and Commercial Law at Denise Maxwell Solicitors. Nicola believes that information is power, and that cake can solve many of life’s problems. Nicola is owned by a rough collie (like Lassie!) named Fletcher.

“Most people who walk through our doors are nervous. I love that I can help people to feel empowered to make the decisions that help them live the life that they most want. I am so lucky to be able to have the knowledge to help people build better future.”

 

(07) 3892 4329
EMAIL NICOLA

TAMARA HANSEN | Solicitor

 

Tamara is the Head of Family Law at Denise Maxwell Solicitors, and also helps clients in the Wills and Estates field. Her compassion brought Tamara to Family Law, and this is the quality that she draws on most as she helps guide families through difficult transitions.

I help clients through what can be the worst time of their life. I offer my clients the wisdom of other people’s experiences in the same journey, combined with the knowledge that they are not going it alone.”

 

(07) 3892 4329
EMAIL TAMARA

WILLS AND ESTATES FAQS

The simple answer is “Yes”.

If you die intestate (that is, without a will) you are not able to decide who will:

  • look after your estate
  • receive your assets
  • look after your children
  • look after your pets

Your family will need to apply to the Supreme Court for a grant to enable them to access your assets. The law will decide who receives your assets, and it may not be the people that you are closest to in life. The process will be longer, more costly, and more stressful than needed for your loved one.

Drafting a will is a simple process that does not take very much time at all. We’ll make it painless – we promise.

Our aim is to ensure that making your will is a simple and stress-free process. Generally, you will come into our office to discuss what you want to achieve, we will then prepare your will, and provide you with a draft for your review. We will discuss the terms with you and answer any questions that you may have. Once you are satisfied with your will, you will attend our office and sign the document.

There is a wide range of matters that can be covered by a valid will aside from dealing with how particular assets are distributed.

Estate administration is the process of dealing with the assets and liabilities (the Estate) of a person who has passed away. A person who administers an estate is known as either an executor or an administration. An executor is appointed in a Will, if there is no will then the administration needs to be appointed by the Court. When a loved one has passed away and has appointed you to be the executor of their will, the last thing you want to do is deal with the legalities of administering the estate. We are here to assist you regardless of the situation to ensure that estate administration is completed in a timely and efficient way.

It is important that you obtain professional advice to understand if a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration is required to be obtained from the Court. Estate administration can be complicated, there can be problematic interested parties and/or beneficiaries, numerous assets or liabilities involved, or there may be informal testamentary documents.

Challenging a will is means calling into question the validity of a will. This may be because the person who made the will lacked mental capacity or knowledge of the impact of the will, or they were unduly influenced when making the will.

If you doubt the validity of the Will, then you should make this known to the executor as soon as possible after the deceased’s death and preferably prior to a Grant being obtained from the Court. You may wish to lodge a caveat against the estate to prevent the Grant being obtained without prior notification to you.

The court will consider all available evidence regarding the mental capacity of the deceased when the will was executed, and the conduct of family members or friends, as well evidence from lawyers, doctors and forensic specialists.

If you have any concerns about the validity of a loved ones will, please do not hesitate to contact our office to discuss further.

Contesting a will occurs when an eligible person is unhappy with the bequest left for them under the will (or if they were excluded entirely) and wishes to seek more from the Estate. This is commonly called a family provision application.

The Succession Act 1981 (Qld) instructs that only “eligible” people can make such a claim. The following people can apply for further provision from the Estate:

  1. spouse of the deceased (including de facto spouses);
  2. child or children (including a stepchild, adopted child or a child born outside of a marriage); and
  3. dependants (a person supported by the Deceased at the time of their death).

The Court can order any provision it thinks appropriate, taking into account factors such as the financial position of the applicant, the size of the estate, and the nature of the relationship of the deceased and the applicant.

There are strict time limits that apply to making a family provision claim. Please contact Denise Maxwell Solicitors to discuss your situation as soon as possible.

Estate planning is an important part of protecting your family’s future. Careful estate planning will reduce stress and hardship for your loved ones when you pass away.

For example, at Denise Maxwell Solicitors we can advise you on the making of binding death benefit nomination that determines how your superannuation is to be paid.  This often requires careful consideration, as there are risks of claims being made on your estate. This is a particularly difficult area if you have a self-managed superannuation fund.

An enduring power of attorney is a document that appoints another person (or people) to act as your attorney for financial and/or health and personal matters. Your attorney is able to act on your behalf should you become incapable of acting for yourself in the event of illness or an accident

With personal and health matters, the attorney can only act if you become incapable (whether temporarily or permanently) of acting for yourself. With financial matters, you can specify when the power of attorney comes into effect. You attorney can do anything in relation to finance matters you yourself can do subject to limitations you set in the Power of Attorney. For example, your attorney can make decisions about payment of rent or mortgage, payment of bills, investment of money, sale of property.

Having an attorney for health and personal matters allows them to make decisions for you in relation to your daily care, where you live and consent or refusal of consent for medical treatment. It does not allow an attorney to decide on any of the following:

  • whether to terminate life support systems
  • whether to withhold life-sustaining treatment
  • experimental health care
  • donation of body tissues
  • making a will
  • appointing another attorney.

An advanced health directive is a document in which you give directions about health matters, special health matters, and/or your future health care. The kinds of matters which you can address in an advanced health directive include:

  • consent to future health treatment
  • setting out the circumstances in which you want life-sustaining treatment to be withheld or withdrawn
  • donation of organs while you are still alive
  • participation in experimental health care
  • psychiatric health care

A direction contained in an advanced health directive only comes into effect when you do not have the capacity to communicate a decision already outlined in an advanced health directive. For example, if you are in an irreversible coma, a directive to donate organs or withdraw life sustaining treatment comes into effect.

The purpose of an advanced health directive is to decide in advance about health treatment to ensure that the right decision for you is made. It is often a document of great support to your loved ones, as they can be sure that this is what you wanted to happen when you are unable to communicate this yourself.

If you want a trusted team to help with your wills and estate law matters, get in touch with Denise Maxwell Solicitors.