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wills

Wills and Estates

We have been taking instructions for wills, probate and powers of attorney for over 60 years and in recent years for  enduring guardianship appointments.

Creating a will requires great sensitivity and understanding. We provide straightforward advice about your legal options and give comprehensive practical assistance in dealing with all aspects of wills and probate.

Handling the estate of a deceased relative can involve solving complex legal matters and dealing with family matters that may have significant emotional and financial concerns for those involved.

We use our best endeavours to ensure that the agreements you make and the documents you sign accurately reflect your intentions. Throughout your life we help you to make those changes that reflect your circumstances.

If a will is disputed we have experience in resolving disputes without costly court action. If court proceedings become inevitable our main consideration is in your interest.

Ten important Questions about your will

  1. How do I decide who will be my executor(s)?

    It is desirable to appoint someone younger than you. A beneficiary can be an executor. One executor is sufficient, but you can appoint more than one. If your children are minors you should also consider appointing a guardian(s). Also it is wise to appoint an alternative executor in case your executor(s) dies before you or is unable to carry out the administration.

  2. Do I need to list my assets and their value?

    It does help to list your assets and their approximate value if you intend to make specific gifts to people.

  3. Who will be the beneficiaries?

    List the names and addresses of the people or organisations (e.g. charities) that will benefit under your will.

  4. Do I need to list everything that I own?

    Only list the specific personal property that you want to leave to specific people. Limit specific bequests, like jewellery, to important or valuable items as too much detail can make your executor’s job difficult or more costly.

  5. Do I need to specify how my remains are to be dealt with?

    If you have a preference for cremation, burial or organ donation:

    (a) Indicate whether you have a preference for cremation or burial and;

    (b) If you desire to donate your organs for transplant or research or both.

  6. What about Will Kits?

    It is easy for mistakes to occur when you use a will kit. Your will is the one document you create in your lifetime that comes into effect only after you have gone. It is then too late to make changes or correct mistakes. Our wills are constructed to your individual requirements by qualified solicitors.

  7. Is it cheaper to go to a Trustee company to have my will prepared?

    Yes—but only in the short term. Some Trustee companies offer to prepare your will for little or no fee if they are appointed executor. When they administer your estate they charge the estate a commission. That is a percentage of the value of the estate assets. If you appoint a person who is a beneficiary as executor normally this does not apply. This could save your estate thousands.

  8. Where should I keep my will?

    You should keep your will in a fire-proof safe and, preferably, not in your own home. We provide for our clients free fire-proof safe custody.

  9. If I don’t make a will does my estate go to the government?

    No. But you have no control as to who inherits your estate and it can lead to costly disputes

  10. Do I have to discuss my intentions with my relatives or intended beneficiaries before I make my will?

    No—it is your will. You don’t have to discuss your intentions with anyone except to give instructions to your solicitor.

    Printable copy of Ten important questions about your will is available for download.

Important Questions about Enduring power of attorney and enduring Guardianship

  1. Why do I need an Enduring Power of Attorney and Guardianship?

    a) A will ensures your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

    b) An Enduring Power of Attorney enables your affairs to be managed when you are unable to manage them and:

    c) Privacy laws, prevent your relative or friend from obtain information about your health medical condition and general care. and from making decisions for you when you are unable to do so. Only an Enduring Guardianship will give this authority to manage your general care and well being and to carry out your wishes on vital decisions such as what to do if you are on life support.

  2. If my partner or I suffer from aged dementia or lose mental capacity, can the Enduring Power of Attorney be used to instruct doctors and nurses regarding our health and welfare.

    No—the only authority that will enable the person of your choice to look after you and your heath care and welfare is an Enduring Guardianship.

  3. Can my partner or I use Enduring Power of Attorney (POA) to handle our financial and legal affairs if the other suffers dementia?

    Yes —that is its purpose—your adult child or your children can be appointed to manage your financial and legal affairs. However, you should also have an Enduring Guardianship to allow them to fully care for you when the power of attorney is insufficient.

  4. If my partner dies can I use the Enduring Power of Attorney to withdraw money for the funeral and other death expenses?

    No—the bank usually allows an executor access to the deceased’s account to pay urgent expenses. The bank may need to sight a copy of the will. The Enduring Power of Attorney enables you to attend to these matters only while the appointee is alive.

    Printable copy of Important questions about Enduring Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship is available for download.