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WILLS AND ESTATE PLANNING IN BRISBANE AND QUEENSLAND

Wills

Enduring Power of Attorney

WHAT IS A WILL?

A Will is a legal document that sets out your instructions as to how the assets you own (your estate) are to be distributed and to whom (your beneficiaries) in the event of your death.

Under Queensland law, a Will must be made in writing, and must be signed in the presence of two witnesses over the age of 18 years. The witnesses must be independent – they are not permitted to benefit from the Will.

A Will is an essential part of any estate plan – it is the only means recognised by the law for directing how your estate is to be distributed following your death. Verbal statements about what you would like to happen to your estate have no legal effect.

WHEN SHOULD YOU MAKE YOUR WILL?

If there is one thing that we can recommend from our firm’s 30 years of experience in the field of estate planning, it is that it is never too soon to make your Will.

We recommend that anyone aged 18 years or more should have a valid, up-to-date Will in place.

Unfortunately, making a Will is a task that many people put off. Sadly, in some cases people put off making their Will until it is too late, leading to serious consequences for their loved ones.

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DIE WITHOUT A WILL?

You will be deemed to have died intestate. Your estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy under the Succession Act 1981 (Qld)

The rules of intestacy give you and your loved ones no say in how your estate is distributed or to whom

Your estate may be distributed to people you would not have wanted to benefit, leaving those who you would have wanted to benefit with nothing.

It can lead to difficulty, delay and conflict, and the cost of administering your estate is likely to be significantly more expensive than if there was a valid Will.

WHAT ISSUES SHOULD YOUR WILL COVER?

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Appointment of executors

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Appointment of guardians

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Funeral Arrangements

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Care of your pets

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Gifts to charity

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Distribution of your estate

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Establishment of trusts

An executor is a person (or in some cases an organisation) appointed in a Will to administer your estate in accordance with the terms of your Will after you die.

If you have children under the age of 18 years, you can nominate guardians in your Will to look after your children if you die before they reach adulthood.

You can specify your wishes regarding your funeral arrangements in your Will. However, it is also a good idea to discuss your wishes with your loved ones to make sure they are aware of your wishes, as sometimes the Will is not looked at until after the funeral has taken place.

If you have pets, you can use your Will to set aside funds for their care and nominate who you would like to care for your pets after your death.

You can make gifts to charities that you would like to support in your Will.

Your Will is the mechanism by which you distribute your estate to the people that you want to benefit.

If you wish, you can establish a trust in your Will to provide for the management of the inheritance you want to leave to someone who cannot manage the inheritance themselves e.g. a minor or a person with a disability.

WHEN SHOULD YOU UPDATE YOUR WILL?

Acquiring new assets

If you want to ensure that an asset you have purchased or acquired will pass to a specified person(s) if you die, you should update your Will to include a specific gift of that asset to them.

Selling or disposing of assets

The sale or other disposal of an asset that you have specifically gifted in your Will means that the gift can no longer take effect on your death, because the asset no longer forms part of your estate. If this happens, you should review and, if necessary, update your Will.

Moving in with your partner

Moving in with your partner can trigger the commencement of a de facto relationship, which gives your partner the right to contest your Will if you die after you have been living together as a couple on a genuine domestic for two years or longer. You should update your Will to take your new living arrangements in account.

Getting married or entering into a civil partnership

Your marriage or entry into a civil partnership cancels any Will you have made previously (subject to limited exceptions), so you will need to make a new Will.

Separating from your partner

The legal effect of separation on your Will depends on whether you are married, in a civil partnership, or in a de facto relationship.

Divorce or termination of a civil partnership

Divorce or termination of a civil partnership cancels any gifts to your former husband, wife or civil partner in your Will and any appointment of them as your executor and trustee.

Having children

It is important to ensure that your children are provided for appropriately in your Will, as well as making sure that the Will appoints one or more suitable guardians to look after them if you die before your children reach the age of 18 years.

Becoming a grandparent

You may wish to include gifts to your grandchildren in your Will.

Planning for, and transitioning to, retirement

As you get older, you may need to adjust your Will to take into account changes in your financial and personal circumstances.

COST TO MAKE A WILL

SINGLE CLIENT

Basic Will*
AU$250 + GST
Basic Enduring Power of Attorney**
AU$200 + GST
Basic Will and Enduring Power of Attorney
AU$350 + GST
Revocation of Enduring Power of Attorney
AU$100 + GST

COUPLE

Basic Will*
AU$400 + GST
Basic Enduring Power of Attorney**
AU$300 + GST
Basic Will and Enduring Power of Attorney
AU$500 + GST
Revocation of Enduring Power of Attorney
AU$150 + GST

*A basic Will involves a straightforward distribution of the estate without the inclusion of complex or extensive specific gifts, pecuniary legacies or trusts, and no significant foreseeable risk of estate litigation. A common example of a simple Will is a distribution of the whole estate to a surviving spouse or partner, with a substitute distribution to other beneficiaries (e.g. children) if the primary distribution fails.

**A basic Enduring Power of Attorney involves the straightforward appointment of attorneys without the inclusion of complex or extensive terms, directions or expressions of wishes, and no concerns about capacity to understand the nature and effect of the document.

OUR ESTATE PLANNING SERVICES ACROSS QUEENSLAND

OWNit Conveyancing has provided services across Queensland for over 30 years. While our offices are based in Brisbane, Beenleigh and the Gold Coast, our experienced estate planning lawyers can assist you no matter where you live across Queensland. For more information on how we can assist you in your area, please contact us now.

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