Wills, Estates and Family Trusts

 

Setting up Family Trusts

Family trusts are a way to protect your assets for the future.

 

A family trust can:

  • provide protection from creditors; 
  • offer tax savings by distributing income in different ways between beneficiaries; 
  • protect you from asset testing for residential care (rest home) subsidies and other welfare benefits, although gifts can be “clawed back” and careful advice is needed;
  • provide protection from capital gains or death taxes, should they be reintroduced; 
  • protect your estate from claims when you die, and give you some control over what happens to your assets after you die;
  • provide protection against relationship property claims; and
  • enable you to maintain confidentiality about your financial affairs.

  • We can give you advice about whether a family trust would assist you, and can prepare the trust documentation for you.


Enduring powers of attorney

You can appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf by doing an enduring power of attorney (EPA).
Personal care and welfare EPAs authorise your attorney to make legal decisions about your personal care if you lose mental capacity.


Property EPAs authorise your attorney(s) to act on your behalf about your property. You can decide whether a property EPA has general effect (e.g. if you are going overseas and want someone to manage your affairs while you are away) or has effect only if you become mentally incapable.


EPAs make it easier for your family to help you if you become mentally incapable. If you don’t have EPAs and lose mental capacity (e.g. after having a stroke or suffering a head injury), your family may have to make an application to the Family Court for decisions to be made about your treatment, living arrangements, and property. These applications (made under the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988 or PPPR Act) can be time consuming and stressful, and EPAs are usually a better option.


Our experienced team will discuss your particular family situation with you, help you decide what terms to include in your powers of attorney, and prepare and finalise the documents for you.


Wills

A properly executed will enables the easy division of your assets when you die. We can give you advice about what the law requires you to consider in respect of your dependents, family and significant others and draft a will for you.


Please see the wills instruction form on our information for client’s page and contact us to discuss getting your will done.

 
Living wills

You may have particular views about the medical treatment and care you would want if you either had an accident or illness which left you on life support, or an incurable illness with no real quality of life and no prospect of recovery. A “living will” or advance directive can set out your wishes in the event that such a situation arose.


Please contact us if you would like further information about living wills and advance directives.


Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988 (PPPR Act)

We can advise you about options to manage a situation in which a member of your family loses mental capacity and no powers of attorney are in place. Applications to the Family Court under the PPPR Act can be made for welfare guardianship, property management, and other orders.

 

A Family Court Judge can appoint:

  • A welfare guardian to make decisions about the personal care and welfare of someone who has lost mental capacity (e.g. living arrangements and medical treatment); and/or 
  • A property manager or property administrator to take care of the finances and property of the person who has lost mental capacity.


We will discuss with you what orders might be helpful for your family situation, make any necessary applications to the Court, and represent you in the Court process.


Estate Administration and probate

After the death of a loved one, our team can assist you to administer the estate and divide property according to the Will.