Estate Planning | Windsor
If you live in Windsor and are currently in the process of preparing your Will, Power of Attorney or Enduring Guardianship documents, it is important to work with Estate Planning Lawyers who can offer you the care, dedication, and support you need.
ALA Law (formally Amanda Little & Associates) provides legal services to families in Windsor and surrounding suburbs. We know that estate planning is not something you necessarily like to think about. This is why we have a strong team of highly experienced lawyers to help you with your unique situation.
What is an Estate Plan?
An effective estate plan includes tax effective wills and planning of asset holdings to protect your beneficiaries in the event of the death. Windsor estate planning lawyers can assist you with the process which includes:
- Taking stock of your current assets (what assets do you have? What liabilities do you have?);
- A meeting with ALA Law Estate and your financial planner or accountant to discuss taxation consequences of your gifts;
- Discussion and assessment on the holding of your assets ( jointly held assets, asset holdings e.g. joint tenants or tenants in common, superannuation nominations, assets not forming part of your estate)
- Actions required to asset holdings for taxation and or other purposes (such as quarantining assets for estates, transfer of interests, binding death nominations);
- Preparation of legal documents such as wills and power of attorneys to affect your estate plan (is a standard will sufficient, do you require a testamentary trust or a special disability trust? Is a life estate required?)
Estate Planning Services
Our team of lawyers provides a range of services to assist you in the estate planning process, helping put your mind at ease so you can focus on what’s important to you.
Making A Will
ALA Law (formally Amanda Little & Associates)Solicitors have in excess of 30 years collective experience in drafting complex wills and estate planning. Common situations which create complexity include:
- Multiple marriages/relationships and children from each relationship;
- Divorces and Marriages;
- Interplay between Family Law and Estates;
- Interplay between Family Trusts, Self Managed Superannuation Funds and Corporations and Estates;
- Not including ‘provision’ for those who may be entitled to provision;
- When a person whom would otherwise be entitled to provision in the estates, but has acted in a way that ‘disentitles them’ to provision;
- Complex gifts;
- Forgiveness of debts;
- Disabled beneficiaries; and
- Minor beneficiaries.
There are many more situations wherein specialised knowledge is required to ensure that proper provisions are made and your wills and estate plan is considered carefully.
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a legal document appointing a person to manage your financial and legal affairs during your lifetime. The person you appoint is then known as the “Attorney”. To make a valid Power of Attorney you must be over 18 years and have the legal capacity to understand the nature and effect of the appointment.
There are two types of Power of Attorneys depending on your legal needs:
- Enduring Power of Attorney
This is where you appoint a person to make decisions about your property or financial affairs if you lose mental capacity. this is your “fail safe” and ensures that if you lose capacity, your finances will be taken care of until either you regain capacity or your passing.
- General Power of Attorney
This is similar to an Enduring Power of Attorney, however, it is where you appoint a person to make decisions about your property or financial affairs prior to a loss of mental capacity for specified periods or functions. This could include travelling overseas or executing a contract on their behalf.
An Enduring Guardian is a key part of the Windsor estate planning process. It is someone whom you appoint to make personal, medical and lifestyle decisions for you, if you lose capacity. By appointing an enduring guardian you choose who you want to make decisions for you if you lose the capacity to do this for yourself. If you are over 18 years of age, you can appoint one or more people to be your enduring guardian/s. At the time you appoint an enduring guardian you must have the mental capacity to understand what you are doing.
A testamentary trust is a trust created pursuant to your Will. There are different types of including:
- Discretionary trusts;
- Special disability trusts.
You should consider Testamentary Trusts if any of these factors exist:
- Creditor protection for a beneficiary
- Protecting assets from family law matters for beneficiaries (e.g. Divorce and property settlement);
- Protecting assets against new spouses or marriages;
- Education – you can leave gifts for education purposes;
- High-Risk Beneficiaries – those in high-risk professions in which their assets may be available to claim against (e.g. Doctors, Lawyers, etc)
- Risk-Taking beneficiaries/beneficiaries with ongoing issues – gambling addicts, alcoholics, drug abusers, spendthrift, etc
- Taxation benefits – income splitting
- Will challenges / Family Provisions Claims
- Disabled Children
It is important to discuss with your Estate Planning Lawyer if a Testamentary Trust is right for you as these documents are extremely complex and create ongoing obligations for the Trustee you appoint.
Contesting A Will
If you have been left out of a Will or Estate, or have not received an inheritance you may be able to contest the will in the Supreme Court of New South Wales by way of a Family Provision Claim which is brought under Chapter 3 of the Succession Act 2006 (NSW).
To contest an estate, you must be an eligible person which includes:
- Surviving husband or wife of the deceased person;
- A person who was living in a de-facto relationship with the deceased person;
- A child of a deceased person, including an adopted child;
- A former divorced husband or wife of the deceased;
- A person who was in a close relationship with the deceased person.
- A person who was:
- Wholly or partly dependent on the deceased person; or
- A member of the household of the deceased person.
When someone passes away, their assets become part of the “deceased estate” with these usually gifted pursuant to a Will. However, sometimes a person may not leave a Will when they pass away, they have died intestate and the legislation lays out who is entitled to their assets and how to administer the estate.
At ALA Law, our Windsor estate lawyers can assist you in administering a deceased estate including applying for Letters of Administration so you can administer the estate and contesting the Will if needed.
If you are an executor of an estate or a loved one has passed away without a Will, you will need to apply for Probate with the Supreme Court of New South Wales so you can administer the estate. At ALA Law, we understand that this process can be very complex and complicated so we take care of it for you. We help you in filing all of the relevant documents including the Summons, Probate, Inventory of Property, Affidavit of Executor, the Will (including codicils) and death certificate.
Letters of Administration
If a loved one has recently passed away without a Will, you may need to apply for Letters of Administration so you can become the Administrator of the Estate. This can only be made for someone who is entitled to the whole or a share of the estate. If your loved one passed away with a will but the original cannot be located you can apply for Letters of Administration – Will Annexed. While this process can be complex and complicated, we are here to help you so you can focus on what matters most.
Our team is led by Amanda Little, is an Accredited Specialist in Family Law, Mediator, Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, Collaborative Family Lawyer, Sessional Academic, Public Speaker, and Author. She is recognised as a leading business person in Western Sydney being awarded 2019 Business Person of the Year for Penrith and 2019 Business Woman of the Year for Lindsay.
When you choose to work with ALA Law (formally Amanda Little & Associates), you can remain confident that your case is in compassionate and competent hands. We believe in building relationships with our clients and the wider community, working with them as members of our own family. This ensures each case is treated with the utmost importance, care and respect.
If you need advice on Estate Planning matters, get in touch with our friendly team at our Windsor office at 1300 ALA LAW. We’re more than happy to discuss your situation and help find the best outcome for you and your needs.