Wills, Estate Planning and Trust Wills

Do you have a valid Will?

Death is a time of high emotion, of loss and of changing financial circumstances. The right Will, with a competent executor, together with the right decisions made now about your property (estate planning) will secure your family and beneficiaries' future on your death.

A well-written Will simplifies the administration of your estate. It safeguards your assets. It will protect your loved ones at that most vulnerable time.

Some helpful definitions

  • A Will is a written and signed document that sets out how the Will maker wants property and assets to be divided after death.
  • An Executor is the person responsible to administer your estate.  The executor should be capable and available.  Often the executor will be one of the major beneficiaries of your estate and it is wise to appoint more than one executor.  If there are complex assets or long-term arrangements, Kells will offer specialist advice.
  • A beneficiary is a person who receives money or property under your Will.  Marriage and divorce will impact on how you provide for family and affect any existing Will.  The Succession Act gives a statutory remedy to certain persons including your spouse or eligible dependants if they are not adequately provided for.
  • A guardian can be appointed to care for children who are minors in the event of both parents    dying.
  • Estate planning is a wise investment.  Not all assets pass according to the terms of your Will.  Consult a Kells lawyer who will review your assets including jointly held real estate and bank accounts and substantial assets such as your superannuation so you have a full understanding of how those assets pass on your death.  Kells will advise you how to best hold your assets for your purposes.  A husband and wife may be able to minimise future probate costs by making a Will and holding assets during their lifetime as joint tenants. In larger estates, or where there are complex family or financial structures, Wills incorporating Discretionary Will Trusts can be extremely valuable.
  • Probate is an Order from the Supreme Court stating that the Will has been proved to be the last and proper Will of the Will maker and permits the executor to sell, collect and distribute the estate assets to the beneficiaries.
  • Intestate is when a deceased person does not leave a Will or when a Will is defective and only deals with part of the estate.  Property (land or other assets) is then distributed in New South Wales in certain order known as statutory or intestacy rules.  If there are no relatives closer than cousins the estate passes to the State (the Crown).  The Crown has discretion to pay some of the estate to certain persons.

Kells recommends you:

  • ensure your family is protected with a valid Will;
  • review your property and superannuation assets with us;
  • review any existing Will now; and
  • have an enduring Power of Attorney; and
  • appoint an Enduring Guardian

For a cost-effective Kells Will and for the right professional advice:

  • Print out and complete our free Kells' Wills Planning Form (173kb).
  • Contact our Wills & Estates team for a consultation.