Wills

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Wills

Do you have a valid Will?

Whether you need to update your will or whether you wish to execute a will for the first time, Step Solicitors will give you peace of mind in knowing that your chosen loved ones can receive their rightful inheritance.

If you already have a will it is recommended that you should review its content every five years or at any significant milestone in your personal life. All of the following are appropriate times to update your Will:

  • If you marry, separate or divorce;
  • If you enter into or end a de facto relationship;
  • If you have children (including adopted or fostered children);
  • If your executor dies or becomes unwilling or unable to act because of age, ill health or any other reason;
  • If a beneficiary (someone who has been left something in the Will) dies;
  • If you have specifically left any property which you subsequently sell or give away or put in trust or into a partnership; or
  • If you re-arrange your financial affairs such as setting up a family trust, establishing a self managed super fund, entering a new business venture or retiring.

Step Solicitors provides a call out service to many hospitals and aged care facilities at no additional cost.

Probate

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is a distressing time that is often compounded by the pressure of trying to fulfill your legal duties as executor.

We can act on your behalf contacting and notifying banks, building societies, credit unions and insurance companies of the date of death and requesting full details of all accounts, shares and policies. We can take carriage of the application to the Supreme Court for a grant of probate, which is an order declaring the will valid and that the executor has the lawful right to administer the estate. We will ensure that the required notifications are published in the local newspaper.

We will prepare all required probate documents including executor’s affidavit, inventory of assets and summons for probate. Once the grant of probate has been obtained from the Supreme Court, we will make the necessary arrangements for advertisement in the local newspaper regarding distribution of the estate. If necessary, we will prepare a transmission application or notice of death and lodge the same at the Land and Property Information (LPI) along with the title deed to transfer real property from the deceased’s name.

Once the estate debts have been acquitted, we reimburse the executors for any personal expenses that have been incurred in administering the estate before attending to the final distribution of funds in accordance with the will, including payment of our professional costs out of the estate. A letter will be sent to each of the beneficiaries under the will requesting them to attend our office to receive their distribution cheque or, alternatively, we can deposit the funds directly in a nominated bank account.

Call now to speak to our probate lawyers.

Challenging a Will.

Have you been excluded from or been left with an inadequate provision in a will?

Step Solicitors can assist you challenge a will by making an application pursuant to the Succession Act 2006 (formerly contained within the Family Provision Act 1982). You may have a valid claim independent of whether the will is grossly unfair and regardless of whether you were dependent on the deceased at the time of death.

Strict time limits apply to family provision applications so don’t delay; call Step Solicitors today.

What happens if someone dies without having a valid Will?

If a person dies without a valid Will then the person is deemed to have died intestate and an application must be made to the Court for a grant of “Letters of Administration”.

In intestacy matters, there are established laws that determine who will receive the estate and in what proportions. An appropriate person must apply for letters of administration from the Supreme Court, which will allow the assets and liabilities of the estate to be dealt with. In the absence of a Legal Will, this process can be challenging and we strongly recommend that you obtain advice from a probate lawyers before you embark on the process.

Our solicitors have experience with wills, probate and estate litigation and are available to help you assess the key issues and inform you of the various legal options available to you.

Powers of Attorney and Guardianship Appointments

What can you do if you can’t make important decisions for yourself, either on a short or long term basis? You can have us draft you the the above documents which might make things easier for you and your family. However, you need specialist legal advice regarding these types of documents to ensure you are protected. Contact Step Solicitors first.

For advice concerning Wills and Probabte, please contact Step Solicitors on 1300 651 193.