Estate Planning

Estate planning is the preparation and execution of your wishes after death. This includes wills, powers of attorney, probate, and estate administration.  By proactively seeking legal guidance from an experienced Bendigo estate planning lawyer to plan and confirm your intentions and address your individual needs, you can ensure their accurate execution and have confidence in the delivery of your legacy.

The cornerstone of a robust estate plan is a carefully drafted will. A will provides directions on how your assets should be distributed after you die and appoints one or more executors who will be responsible for ensuring it happens. A will can also appoint guardians for minor children and provide instructions for funeral arrangements.

In some cases, it may be prudent to include a testamentary trust in your will which can help protect vulnerable or at-risk beneficiaries. A testamentary trust is made under a will and begins at the death of the testator (the person who made the will). Trusts enable you to financially support someone without giving them direct control of the assets.

We can help you craft a legally binding will that serves as a clear reflection of your wishes regarding asset distribution, guardianship for minors, charitable bequests, etc. We prioritise the clarity and precision of these documents to minimise the potential for disputes and to provide you with peace of mind.

Planning for unforeseen circumstances or incapacity is crucial. A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you (the ‘principal’) to apr point a person (the ‘attorney’) to make certain decisions on your behalf about specified matters and in specified circumstances. There are different types of powers of attorney in Victoria and it is important to choose the right type for your situation.

A general power of attorney allows an individual to appoint an attorney to manage their financial affairs, such as paying bills, accessing bank accounts, and managing investments, while the principal is still capable. A supportive power of attorney may also be made for help with certain decisions.

An enduring power of attorney allows you to appoint someone to make personal decisions on your behalf (such as decisions about living arrangements), or financial decisions, or both, if you become incapacitated.

Knowing you have an attorney to act for you when you need it can give you peace of mind but requires careful consideration. We can explain the various options so you can make an informed decision and have documents prepared that are specific to your needs.

Probate is the process of obtaining validation of a will from the Supreme Court authorising the executor named in the will to deal with the deceased’s property and finalise the estate. Navigating the intricacies of probate amidst emotionally challenging times can be overwhelming. The application process follows strict rules and involves lodging various legal documents and supporting evidence with the Court.

If a person dies without leaving a valid will, they die ‘intestate’. In such cases, somebody (such as the next of kin or another family member) may need to apply to the Supreme Court for letters of administration. While the process is a little like obtaining a grant of probate, it is typically more complex. After letters of administration are granted, the administrator may then deal with the deceased person’s assets which must be distributed according to a predetermined formula set out in legislation.

As an executor of a will or an appointed administrator, dealing with a deceased estate encompasses a multitude of legal obligations and responsibilities. We can assist executors and administrators in navigating this complex terrain. From asset valuation and debt settlement to the equitable distribution of assets in line with the will or intestacy laws, our objective is to support you and alleviate pressure; ensuring adherence to legal requirements and facilitating a smooth and legally compliant administration.

If you need an estate planning lawyer in Bendigo, contact: