WILLS & ESTATES

Hunter Legal and Conveyancing have been providing Wills & Estate services to locals of the Hunter for over 30 years. Our team of legal professionals are here to assist you with all processes surrounding Estate Planning and Deceased Estates.

SERVICES

Estate Planning

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Our Estate Planning Team specialises in all areas of estate planning, asset protection and business succession planning.

At Hunter Legal and Conveyancing, we appreciate that estate planning involves more than just drafting a Will. There is much more involved to ensure that your assets are smoothly and efficiently distributed only amongst your chosen beneficiaries.

Having an estate plan ensures that a level of security exists for your family and loved ones after your death. You can also stipulate exactly what each beneficiary is to receive and plan for future generations to avoid costly legal disputes between beneficiaries.

Remember by planning ahead it is your loved ones you are saving the inconvenience and time in the future. If you leave a Will, Power of Attorney or Guardianship appointment until you need it, it could be too late.

Our team will create an estate plan that protects your assets now and for generations to come.

Deceased Estates

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The passing of a loved one is a time of grieving and loss for many. At HLC we understand and walk through the Legal process with compassion and understanding making it as stress free as possible.

In many cases a grant of Probate may be required, or a Grant of Administration. We can assist you with the legalities and all of the requirements of processing an estate.

If you are an Executor of a Will and are facing a challenge from a potential beneficiary who feels that they have either been left out of a Will altogether or have been left less than their fair share, we can assist you with advice in respect to your options and, if necessary, defend the Will on your behalf.

We can also advise you regarding making a possible challenge on an estate and your chances of success if you are the one who has been left out of a Will or inadequately provided for in a Will.

We can advise you on whether you may have grounds for contesting the Will however there are strict timeframes for you to act on this so do not delay in contacting us for assistance.

So call us so that we can provide you with the help you need to make this process straightforward and as stress free as possible.

Wills

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A will is a legal document that only operates after your death to direct how your assets should be distributed. A properly drafted, up-to-date will is the only way you can be sure your assets will be dealt with and your loved ones cared for in the way you choose.It is tremendously important that you have a valid Will. Having a valid Will gives you the power to distribute your assets to whom and in what manner you wish.

If you die without a valid will, intestacy provisions will automatically apply. If this occurs, your estate may pass to people who you do not wish to benefit and people you do wish to benefit may miss out.

Preparing a valid will with one of our lawyers is the best way to ensure you are aware of all your testamentary options including:

  • Who you want to look after your estate and act as your executor
  • What items and assets you can leave in your will and to who and when
  • Payment of debts or liabilities
  • Whether different types of testamentary trusts may be appropriate
  • Guardianship of children
  • Whether you wish to be cremated or buried

If you already have a Will, it may be time to review your Will as your circumstances may change and your Will no longer fulfils your testamentary wishes.

Power of Attorney

man and woman sitting on a bench surrounded by 4 dogs

An enduring power of attorney is a legal document by which you authorise a person to make financial decisions on your behalf such as taking money out of your bank account, paying your bills, selling or purchasing property, shares or other assets; and signing legal documents, leases, mortgages.

For certain transactions your power of attorney may need to be registered at the Land and Property Information NSW (LPI) and a registration fee applies.

The most important decision you must make is who you appoint as your enduring power of attorney. The person you appoint must be someone you completely trust to act in your best interest.

If you appoint more than one attorney you must decide if they are to act either:

  1. Jointly – all appointed attorneys must sign all documents; or
  2. Jointly and severally – each appointed attorney can act separately from the other attorneys.

An enduring power of attorney continues to operate even after you lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself. Your power of attorney appointment ends on your death and your will then becomes active.

Enduring Guardianship

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An enduring guardian makes health and lifestyle decisions for you if you have lost the capacity to make those decisions for yourself. Health decisions may include medical or dental treatment, whereas lifestyle decisions may include where you reside.

Your appointed guardian is entitled to medical records and information to the extent that it is necessary to assist them in carrying out their functions. In the event you lose capacity and you have not appointed a guardian a member of your family or another person interested in your well-being may seek an order from the Guardianship Division.

The Guardianship Tribunal may or may not appoint a person that you would have preferred to act as your guardian.

The appointment of an enduring guardianship commences when you lose capacity and continues until you die or the appointment is revoked.

Testamentary Trust

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A testamentary trust is a trust created by a Will. It is generally a discretionary trust, one where the Trustee has full discretion about who benefits, and to what extent, under the trust.

A testamentary trust has two significant advantages for a Will maker and the nominated beneficiaries:

  • Significant taxation advantages in terms of income splitting; and
  • Protection of the bequeathed assets from any financial or other difficulties that the beneficiaries may suffer

The main advantage of using a discretionary testamentary trust for bequeathed assets is that any income gains, capital gains and franked dividends can be distributed among all the family beneficiaries each year in the most tax-effective way.

FAQ

How long do Wills & Estate Planning services usually take?

Within 5 days. Please phone us for an initial consultation, and we will schedule an in-person meeting.

Do you offer a discount for combining Power of Attorney, Probate & Enduring guardian services?

Yes. We offer a discounted Estate Planning Pack to enable you to finalise everything together at a reduced cost, ensuring all areas are covered and you can move forward knowing everything is taken care of.

Are your prices fixed or does the cost vary with the complexity of the estate?

Our prices are fixed for standard estate planning packs. If your requirements are not standard, during the initial consultation we will assess your requirements in detail and advise the costs.

Are there any ongoing costs?

No.

What happens if I do not have a Will or estate planning in place upon death?

Your leftover assets will be allocated according to legal structures.

Can you assist with disputing a Will?

Yes. We can advise you on whether you may have grounds for contesting the Will however there are strict time frames for you to act on this so do not delay in contacting us for assistance.

How will I be kept up to date of the status of my Wills & Estate services?

During your initial consultation you will be asked for your preferred contact method and we will notify you of every update. Our team is also readily available for any questions you may have.