Wills & Estate Planning
At Mal Ryan & Glen we provide quality, personalised services in the administration of Wills and Powers of Attorney to ensure our client's individual and specific needs are met. With our long history and substantial profile practising in the area of deceased estates we understand the importance of ensuring Wills are administered correctly.
Enduring Powers of Attorney (Financial & Personal Decision Making)
Medical Treatment Decision Maker
What is a Will?
A Will is a document that enables your estate to be distributed in the way that you intended after you pass away. Your estate includes any property you own at the time of death, including cash, jewellery, savings and investment assets including stock and shares. Your estate also includes any entitlements that may follow from your superannuation, insurance policies and trust assets provided that these entitlements are correctly nominated.
What happens if I don't have a Will?
If you do not have a Will when you die the people left to look after your estate (eg. family, friends) will be required to apply for a grant of Letters of Administration so that they are granted the authority from the Supreme Court to administer your estate. This is often a costly and time consuming legal process that may add additional stress to loved ones you leave behind at an already difficult time.
What is an Executor/Trustee?
An executor or trustee is a person that you nominate to oversee the distribution of your estate in accordance with your wishes. In addition to your general estate, you are also able to dictate to your executors your wishes with respect to organ donation and the way in which you would like your remains to be dealt with. You are also able to make provisions and life interests in properties that you own as well as create trusts to enable the continued care of any dependants. You may nominate more than one person to act as your executor/trustee. You may also nominate alternate executors/trustees who act only if your primary executor/trustee is unable or unwilling to act.
Can my Will be contested?
Yes, your Will may be contested if you do not make a provision in your Will for someone who falls into the category of an 'eligible person'. An eligible person may include the following people : a spouse, domestic partner, a child (including adopted and step children), a former spouse or domestic partner, a spouse or domestic partner of a child of the deceased, a child who thought the deceased was their parent, a grandchild, a member of the household of which the deceased was also a member at the time of death.
How often should I review my Will?
We recommend you review your Will every five years to determine whether or not you wish to make any amendments. You should also review your Will if you get married or divorced or if you purchase or sell real estate.
What is the difference between a Will and a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is only valid during the attorney's lifetime. It is no longer valid after the attorney dies. Conversely, a Will is only valid after the testator/testatrix dies. It is not valid during the lifetime of the testator/testatrix.
What if I don't have a partner or children or anyone I want to leave my estate to?
You might like to consider donating to a charity. We have included a document containing a list of local charities at the bottom of this page. You can of course donate to any charity you would like though.
Powers of Attorney
What are Powers of Attorney?
These documents are written authorities that allow another person/s to act on your behalf in relation to medical, financial and personal matters. You can specify conditions regarding there use. For example, you may specify that the document only comes into force when you loss the ability to make decisions for yourself or you may allow your attorney/s to act on your behalf immediately (under your supervision).
Powers of Attorney documents are only valid during the life of the attorney. Once the attorney dies the Will becomes the valid document.
What are the different types?
There are two different types of Powers of Attorney:
Medical Treatment Decision Maker - in this document you nominate a person/s to make medical decisions on your behalf. In this document you nominate two decision makers. Decision maker 1 is the person who will make these decisions for you. Decision maker 2 is the person who will make decisions for you only if decision maker 1 is unwilling or unable to act for you. Only one person may act for you at a time. You may also choose to make an Advanced Care Directive with your doctor. This document assists your decision making in making these decisions for you.
Enduring Power of Attorney - in this document you may nominate a person/s to act for you in making financial and/or personal decisions. More than one person can act for you at a time and you can nominate alternate attorney who act only if your primary attorney/s are unwilling or unable to act.