Our estate planning services provide important assistance for every adult person. Everyone should have a will and a power of attorney. Today, many people also appoint a guardian to be available to make major medical decisions when the person has lost the ability to make them personally. For many people with significant assets, it is appropriate to set up a family trust during their life.
Feel free to download the following instruction forms to complete and send to us or alternatively you can complete the appropriate online form by clicking on the link/s below.
Family trusts (also commonly called Discretionary Trusts) are often a sensible way to protect assets and to share income among family members. These trusts can also be used effectively for charitable giving. We advise clients as to whether a Family Trust is right for their circumstances. Where it is, we prepare the document which creates the trust and advise on how to operate and maintain the trust.
A Power of Attorney is a document which a person signs to authorise another person to sign something on his or her behalf. A Power of Attorney in a special form (generally referred to as an "enduring Power of Attorney") enables the attorney to act even if the person becomes incapable of giving instructions to the attorney. Situations where an attorney may have to sign include:
If there is no Power of Attorney, the only alternative is to appoint the Protective Commissioner to take control of the assets. This action is both expensive and slow and decisions are often taken out of the control of the family. We can quickly and inexpensively prepare, explain and have a Power of Attorney signed to make sure this does not happen.
Where physical incapacity or urgency make it necessary, a solicitor can visit a person at home or in hospital to have a Power of Attorney signed.
An enduring guardian is someone who you choose to make personal or lifestyle decisions on your behalf when you are not capable of doing this yourself. You choose which decisions you want your enduring guardian to make. We can help you work through these issues and guide you in your choice of the right person for this important role.
When a person dies, their property and assets are called that person's estate. We have been advising clients on the best ways to deal with their estate for nearly 100 years. Primarily, this is done by careful preparation of a will - the instructions a person gives for what they want to happen to their estate after their death. We work with clients to ensure that their will takes into account, among other things, the nature of their estate, their family situation and current taxation law.
Wills name people as the executors. Their job is to administer the estate. This involves looking after the assets of the estate, paying the estate's debts and distributing the assets of the estate. In most cases, the executors must obtain a grant of probate. This involves proving various matters to the Supreme Court of NSW. We handle all this paperwork for the executors. We also help identify and collect the deceased's assets, advise the executors about the deceased's tax liability and assist with the distribution of assets.
If the deceased does not have a will, we assist one of the people entitled to a share in the estate to apply for Letters of Administration.
For people with large estates, there can be significant advantages in creating sophisticated trusts in their wills to benefit their family members. These advantages include asset protection, lower taxation and the long term care of a child with a disability. We can advise as to when such trusts are appropriate and prepare the wills which create them.
We charge fees for our legal work done up to and including the grant of probate according to a government set scale of fees. We tell the executors the amount of these fees before applying for probate. We also tell the executors about the fees we charge for legal work done in the administration of the estate after the grant of probate.
We can assist in the resolution of disputes under wills including proceedings under the Succession Act. See FAQs.
"We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your assistance, help and support throughout this time of complete bewilderment. You have guided us carefully, precisely and caringly. If we have any other questions in the future we feel confident that Emil Ford Lawyers will assist us if possible (and if not direct us where to go). Again thank you for everything (and might I say that the coffee and tea was just great)."
"I would just like to say thank you for all your help with my Uncle's estate. It was less painful than I thought and I think that was because you did all the work."
"Honestly, I am so pleased you did this testamentary trust for me - the other lawyers were going nowhere."