Our lawyers advise on how to effectively protect your wishes when preparing a Will and your entitlements as a beneficiary.
What is a Will?
A Will is a legal instrument expressing an individual’s wishes for asset distribution and minor children’s guardianship upon death. It aids in circumventing potential disputes among beneficiaries and provides a clear direction for estate management. Creating or updating a Will is crucial during life-changing events and even otherwise for regular reassessment.
Without a Will, an estate may be disseminated under intestacy laws, which might not reflect the deceased’s actual wishes, causing potential disputes and added distress for loved ones. Therefore, it’s advisable to engage with proficient probate lawyers, to obtain tailored advice on estate law, ensuring a smoother estate planning process.
If you are looking for probate lawyers in Surfers Paradise or the broader Gold Coast, Nyst Legal can also accommodate your needs.
Preparing a Will
Our lawyers understand the stress and uncertainty that can occur when a loved one passes. The additional pain that the lack of a well-considered Will can bring to a family can be avoided. Estate disputes can be costly and can lead to broken relationships.
An important thing to be aware of is that Wills and Estates are closely linked. Most estate disputes can be avoided before the death of the testator when the testator makes his or her Will. A well drafted and well considered Will, done early, is the best way to minimise estate disputes later.
When should you consider having a Will made?
Significant changes in your life circumstances, such as marriage, divorce, entering a new partnership, or becoming a parent, often necessitate creating or revising your existing Will. These changes can drastically alter how you would want your assets to be allocated or who should be entrusted with the care of your minor children in your absence.
As you move through different stages of life, acquire new assets, or experience shifts in personal relationships, your Will should be reviewed and updated accordingly. It’s also worth revisiting your Will in the event of the death of a named beneficiary or the executor.
When there is a life changing event that makes you think you should have a Will.
The following events have been identified as triggers.
- Getting married
- Having children
- Setting up a business
- Serious and potentially terminal illness
Claiming against a Deceased Estate
Have you been left out of a family member’s Will? Perhaps you believe that you haven’t received your fair share of the estate of a recently deceased?
It is commonplace for there to be disputes regarding the contents of someone’s Will. It may be that:-
- The deceased did not completely understand what they were doing when they drafted their Will.
- Despite the wishes of the deceased, they had a moral duty to leave you with a share of their estate.
- The deceased was unduly influenced by a third party.
- The beneficiaries cannot agree on what is to happen to the estate property.
- There have been unauthorised or unfair transfers of assets during the life of the deceased.
- The executor appointed under a Will has apparently influenced the testator in making the appointment or apportioning the bequests.
- A home-made Will is deficient in some way, i.e. there is ambiguity in the terms of the Will, doubts as to how it was executed by the deceased, or issues of undue influence, duress or even forgery.
Our team has a wealth of experience in dealing with deceased estate disputes. Whatever the circumstances, we will ensure that you get your fair share of the estate. Call Nyst Legal on 07 5509 2400 to arrange a confidential initial consultation. Our expert lawyers will provide you with the right advice on whether you are able to make a claim.
Probate of a Will
Probate is a legal process that commences after a person’s death, whereby the Court validates the authenticity of a deceased person’s Will and approves an executor. The executor, often guided by a probate lawyer, is then legally permitted to manage the deceased’s estate, including settling debts and distributing assets to beneficiaries as outlined in the Will.
Although the process might seem daunting, engaging with a probate lawyer can simplify it significantly. Probate lawyers are legal professionals specialising in assisting executors to navigate the complexities of the probate process. They understand this can be stressful and provide comprehensive and empathetic support.
Nyst Legal has lawyers in Surfers Paradise and the Gold Coast to attend your probate needs.
Is obtaining probate necessary?
Obtaining probate is not always necessary and largely depends on the nature of the deceased’s estate. Typically, if an estate consists of joint assets, these will directly transfer to the surviving owner without the requirement of probate. On the other hand, if the deceased held assets solely in their name, such as property or bank accounts, probate might be required to distribute these assets appropriately. The complexity and value of the estate could also influence whether probate is needed.
Moreover, the requirements of probate are not universally applicable to every Will. There might be circumstances where probate is not required, for example, if the assets in the estate were jointly held or if the estate is of low value.
How to apply for grant of probate
Applying for a grant of probate involves a set of procedures that must be correctly followed. First, you must identify and value the deceased’s assets and debts. This may require appraisals and evaluations of different property types. After gathering this information, you’ll need to prepare and lodge the relevant legal documentation with the court, including the original Will, the death certificate, an inventory of assets and liabilities, and an executor’s affidavit.
These documents aim to confirm the Will’s validity and the estate’s appraised value. It’s essential to meticulously complete this documentation to prevent any errors that could delay the process. Consulting with a probate lawyer in Surfers Paradise or across the Gold Coast can be advantageous in ensuring that this is correctly done.
As for the duration, obtaining a grant of probate can vary depending on several factors. It depends on the complexity of the estate, the efficiency of the court process, and whether the Will is contested. On average, it could take several months from submitting the application to the grant of probate. This timeline can extend if complications arise, such as disputes over the Will or difficulties in valuing or accessing the assets.
Acting as Executor of a Will
If you have been appointed the Executor of a deceased estate, it will be your duty to manage the estate for the beneficiaries.
Administering a deceased estate can be a time consuming and difficult task for an Executor. Ordinarily it will include:-
- Obtaining a grant of probate from the courts;
- Interpreting the wishes of a deceased under the Will;
- Ensuring that the estate locates and realises all of the deceased’s assets, in every jurisdiction;
- Attending to the careful distribution of those assets to all beneficiaries pursuant to the Will;
- Considering claims against the estate;
- Considering various legal and accounting issues with a view to maximising the return to the beneficiaries;
- Attending to the sale and/or assignment of assets; and
- Managing assets under a testamentary trust.
This can sometimes be a lengthy and complex process, particularly if the estate is large and contains a broad range of assets. It is important that you obtain proper advice and support from competent lawyers to ensure that you not only maximise the return to the beneficiaries, but comply fully with your duties as Executor and trustee of the estate.
Why choose Nyst Legal for Your Will and Legal Needs
Navigating the intricacies of wills and estates can often be daunting. At Nyst Legal, our team, with nearly five decades of experience, including top-tier probate lawyers in Surfers Paradise and across the Gold Coast, are here to provide the personalised support you need. Our services cover a range of areas, including contested wills, estate planning, will disputes, estate administration, and crafting carefully considered wills.
Whether you need help creating a comprehensive will, seeking a rightful claim on a disputed estate, or require expert advice to plan for the future, our Brisbane and Gold Coast based team can provide tailored solutions to your unique situation. At Nyst Legal, we understand the complexity of estate laws and offer reliable advice and comprehensive knowledge to ease your concerns and provide clarity.
If you require advice in respect of the management of an estate, call Nyst Legal on 07 5509 2400 to arrange a confidential initial consultation to discuss your personal circumstances. We can provide you with the specialist advice and assistance you need to properly administer the estate.
Protect your wishes today by calling us for an initial consultation.
Making your Will
Making your Will raises issues that you might not want to think about, but it is important to make a Will so that you can make your wishes known to the people who are closest to you. You can specify what you want to happen to your property. You can also use your Will to say what you would like to happen to your body and you can appoint guardians to care for your children if you have any.
The cost will vary depending on the complexity of your circumstances.
Before getting started
You will need to know who you want to appoint as your executor, and what you would like to happen to your property.
Can I write my own Will?
What happens if I die without a Will?
Can I challenge a Will?
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