A Will is a legal document that clearly sets out your wishes for the distribution of your assets after your death. Having a clear, legally valid and up-to-date Will is an important part of estate planning to ensure that your assets are protected and distributed according to your wishes. Your Will sets out:
Who you appoint as your executor, the person or organisation you nominate to administer your estate upon your death in accordance with your wishes.
How you would like to divide your estate between your beneficiaries, for example to your family, friends or charities.
If you have young children you can also nominate a guardian.
If you die without a Will no one knows who you wanted as your beneficiaries and your assets will be distributed according to a set formula with certain relatives receiving a defined percentage of your assets despite what you may have wished.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to nominate one or more persons referred to as an attorney to act on your behalf. A power of attorney gives the attorney the authority to manage your legal and financial affairs, including buying and selling real estate, shares and other assets, operating your bank accounts and spending money on your behalf.
You can choose when the power of attorney commences, for example it may commence immediately or it may commence only once a medical practitioner considers that you are unable to manage your affairs and provides a document to that effect. The attorney must always act in your best interests and keep their own money separate from yours.
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Appointment of Enduring Guardian
An enduring guardianship appointment is an important document that allows you to nominate one or more persons referred to as your enduring guardian to make medical and lifestyle decisions on your behalf. Your enduring guardian may make decisions such as where you live, what services are provided to you at home and what medical treatment you receive.
Your enduring guardian can only exercise these functions if you lose the capacity to make the decisions for yourself. An enduring guardian must exercise their functions according to any directions you give them.
Estate Administration is the process of administering and finalising the estate of a deceased person.
If you have been appointed as an executor under a Will, Shaw & Bunner Legal can help you determine whether you require a Grant of Probate and if so assist you with this process. If someone passes away without a will we can also provide advice about a Grant of Letters of Administration and help you through the process.
Once a Grant is made we can assist you with the administration process which may include attending to accounting and taxation requirements, identifying and settling debts and liabilities, identifying and collecting assets and seeing to the transfer of property and assets to beneficiaries.