Wills & Estates Lawyers Perth
Making plans for what should happen to your assets after your own death is never fun to think about, but it’s an important part of preparing for the future. Thankfully, our experienced team of wills and estates lawyers in Perth and Western Australia is here to help you with every step of the process of creating a will — and to answer your questions about what to do with your will once it’s finalised.
A crucial part of this planning is creating a will — a legal document that specifies who will receive your assets once you die. If you die without a will or without a will that is properly drafted, you’ll have died “intestate,” which means that the law, not you, will then decide who inherits your assets. Without a will, your estate will be distributed according to the wishes of the state, which could cause your loved ones undue hardship. If you die intestate in Perth and don’t have any close relatives, the government — rather than the people and causes that you care about — will inherit your assets. The probate process is lengthy and expensive, which can cause emotional turmoil on those you care about the most.
If you haven’t yet created a will, you’re not alone — roughly half of adults over 40 in Western Australia haven’t created a valid will — and a startling 81 percent of those with young children don’t have one, either. It’s important to have a plan in place so that it’s clear who will take care of your children and how they will be financially provided for.
The Public Trustee advises all adults to review their wills regularly, and also advises that you consult an expert when you do so: “Most people don’t know what they are doing when they draft a will and we recommend getting legal advice when you do it,” says Etta Palumbo, Director of Business Development & Marketing for the Public Trustee.
Our lawyers in Western Australia handle wills and estates in both our Perth and Rockingham offices.
In Perth, making a will is an easy process when you have an experienced team of wills and estates lawyers on your side. Although advertisements for free will kits abound, it’s not a great idea to go it alone. A professionally drafted will ensures that all potential circumstances are covered and that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes no matter what. Professionals will think of the hard questions and “worst case scenarios” you may not have ever had to consider, such as what should happen if your a single adult who dies without any heirs, what should happen if both you and your partner die at the same time, and what should happen to your assets if one or more of your children die before you do. They’ll also walk you through the practicalities in order to ensure you follow all applicable Perth and Australian laws, such as who will serve as the executor of your will and who can serve as a valid witness for the execution of your will.
Thankfully, the cost of making a will in Perth and Western Australia is affordable — and the peace of mind that comes with making one is priceless. The amount of money you’ll pay an experienced lawyer is infinitesimal compared to the enormous costs your loved ones would have to spend in probate court if you died without having a valid will.
There are plenty of excuses for not making a will, but none of them are good reasons for not taking responsibility for the future. You might think you’re too busy to draft a will for your estate, but in most cases, our expert lawyers need only 30 minutes to an hour to advise you on drafting your will, and then a follow-up appointment to execute the will in the presence of two independent adult witnesses. If you think your family situation is too complicated for your estate to be covered by a will, we can assure you that you have options and we’ll always work with you to find a solution. Unfortunately, having a complicated family situation only makes the stakes of not having a will all that much higher. Our attorneys have had to break the news to family members of deceased persons who died intestate that they will have to undertake a complicated, time consuming and expensive process of applying for Letters of Administration because their loved one did not take the time to make a will. Many times, the assets go to individuals the deceased would not have chosen had they been around to make the choice.
The time limit to contest a will in Western Australia is six months, and it is sometimes difficult to prevent family members from challenging a will and causing an inheritance dispute during that time frame. Thankfully, a well-written will ensures that your loved ones will have clear instructions to follow once you pass on — and that those instructions will stand up in a Perth probate court.
TGB now offers “No Win, No Fee” on estate dispute matters in Western Australia. Conditions apply.
In addition to will and estate planning, it’s important to have a plan in place should you become unable to make decisions while you’re living. In Perth, you can delegate a person to make financial decisions on your behalf while you’re ill, travelling, or otherwise unable to do so by granting them General Power of Attorney. It’s customary to appoint a spouse or trusted adult child to this role. If something happens to you and you haven’t granted anyone powers of attorney, then your relatives will unfortunately have to seek authority from the Guardianship Board, which might result in a Public Trustee making important decisions rather than your loved ones.
We can also advise you on granting enduring power of attorney to a trusted loved one in the event that you become permanently incapacitated and need to make legal or financial decisions.
If you are ever unable to make decisions about your health care, living arrangements, personal matters and even end of life decisions, a named Substitute Decision-Maker can help you do so. They only have the power to speak for you if you become mentally incapacitated, and they will not be able to dictate your financial decisions. Australian law on Advance Care Directives has changed in the last 4 years, so if you haven’t updated your paperwork, now is the time to do so — and our trusted wills and estates lawyers can help.
If you’ve been named as an executor of a will, we can help by giving legal advice or even taking over the administration of the estate on your behalf. The job of a will executor is tough, and having counsel on call can give you peace of mind and help you avoid common traps for executors. If you find yourself facing unhappy relatives who are challenging a will after probate is granted, we can advise you on the best path to take during this sensitive time.
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