Wills and Estates

Speaking with a BDB succession lawyer gives you the peace of mind that your affairs are in order. If it is an estate it will be administered in the most effective way, with minimal anguish and expense.

None of us know what is around the corner, which is why it is important to ensure that you are prepared for anything. 

Meeting with an expert wills & estates lawyer to plan how your estate will be distributed gives you the opportunity to decide what happens to your assets upon your death.  We have worked with generations of families in our region to address their concerns, assess relevant issues and provide sensible, practical and candid advice about the full range of optons available to them.  Our service is confidential, cost effective and tailored to your needs. 

Succession Planning

This is the process of ensuring that when the time is right, your wealth is transferred in accordance with your wishes.  Proper estate planning is required to protect vulnerable family members and to minimise the risk of losing valuable assets.

Although a will and enduring power of attorney are important elements of an estate plan, it also should include strategies such as:

  • superannuation binding death benefit nominations;
  • securing succession to the role of trustee and appointor for trusts in the event of death or incapacity; and
  • securing control of companies and partnership interests in the event of death or incapacity.

Wills and Estates

Wills

Preparing a valid Will is the best way to ensure that once we pass away our family members are properly provided for and the likelihood of an estate dispute occurring is minimised.  Sometimes, life throws up challenging and stressful circumstances that will require us to make important decisions about a family member or loved one. 

Whilst Bell Dixon Butler has long focussed on Elder Law and Legal Care for Seniors, succession planning should embrace every member of the community so that they have a say in how their assets and children are cared about in the event of an untimely death.

In a time of extended families you need to manage superannuation & life insurance. If you have remarried you need to know what the law is, how to arrange your affairs so as to secure for your loved ones the best possible outcome of these competing areas. For example, the fate of superannuation without a nominated beneficiary is a discretionary matter for the Trustee of the fund. Do you know how the Trustee of your fund is likely to distribute the superannuation benefits? It is the same issue for any life insurance component attached to your fund.

Estate planning is equally important for anyone over 18 because many superannuation funds have a life insurance component.  Given the vulnerability of people under the age of 25 to traffic accidents and other calamities, it is important they have regard to these matters.  Even if you don't believe you have an obvious dependent, you may still prefer to decide how assets are left rather than allowing the intestacy rules to stipulate what occurs; or allowing a government agency to manage your estate. 

The cost of doing a Will or Enduring Power of Attorney is miniscule in comparison to the costs, delay and possible trauma suffered by the family if you die without a valid Will. The trend of "do it yourself" we find creates more work for lawyers and the Court in trying to understand what was really intended. Lawyers don’t build their houses or do their own surgery.  As a matter of good planning and common sense, we do not recommend that clients do their own Wills or other legal transactions.

What is a Will?

A Will is a legal document which records your intentions as to who receives your assets, who will manage your affairs and who will look after your children after your death.There are strict rules about making a valid Will or Enduring Power of Attorney

When to Make a New Will or Refresh an existing Will:

  • If you have just married as marriage revokes all earlier Wills . You can however make a Will in contemplation of marriage;
  • If you have separated from, divorced or lost your spouse;
  • If you have ended a de facto relationship;
  • When you have a child;
  • If you have recently inherited money, shares, a house, etc; or
  • you have a serious medical condition.
What is an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)?

This document authorises a trusted friend or relation to manage your affairs if you lack capacity either permanently or temporarily. It can include financial powers, health or personal powers, or all three.  For financial powers, it can commence immediately or at a nominated time. 

What is an Advance Health Directive (AHD)?

This document authorises your treating doctors to know your wishes concerning treatment that is to be provided or withheld in the event of an accident, injury or life threatening event.

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