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Wills & Estate Planning Lawyers Melbourne

WILLS, PROBATE & ESTATE MANAGEMENT

The importance of having a current and valid Will cannot be over emphasised. A person becoming deceased without a Will causes their estate to legally become “intestate”, meaning that distribution of assets is determined by State legislation which may not accord with the deceased wishes or be the most appropriate way of dealing with assets, loved ones or taxation matters.

 Disadvantages of not having a Will:

  • You have no control over the distribution of your estate;
  • The rules of intestacy may not accord with your wishes;
  • Possible forced sale of the family home or other assets to cover other beneficiaries estate entitlements;
  • No Guardian properly appointed to protect children or their entitlements;
  • Your children or grandchildren may not receive the financial protection you would have wanted;
  • Partners, stepchildren, friends and favourite charities may miss out;
  • Incapacitated members of your family and their own assets may be put at risk;
  • Your estate may be administered by someone you would not appoint.

Wills should always be reviewed in the following circumstances:

  • Marriage or divorce;
  • De Facto relationship;
  • Birth of children.

 

TESTATORS FAMILY MAINTENANCE CLAIMS

CONTESTING A WILL – A WILL CAN BE CONTESTED OR CHALLENGED WHEN IT IS ALLEGED:

  • The Will was incorrectly executed or was tampered with;
  • The Will was executed under pressure or the Will maker was incapable of making a Will;
  • The meaning of the Will is unclear.

The Court also has power to make a maintenance order out of the estate where insufficient provision has been made in the Will for any person that the deceased had an obligation to provide for, including close family members.

A person can apply for a share or an increased share in an estate if they can show the deceased had a responsibility to make adequate provision for them in the Will for their proper maintenance and support and did not do so. An applicant need not be related to the deceased. Potential applicants include domestic partners, stepchildren and people who cared for the deceased.

Applications must be started within six months of probate being granted. Challenging a will is complicated, expensive and time-consuming and legal advice should always be sought. Madison Branson Lawyers can advise you about potential challenges to a Will and the best ways to avoid them when making your Will.

PROBATE

If someone dies leaving a valid Will, there are strict legal requirements that must be met before that Will can be admitted to probate so that the estate can be administered.

At Madison Branson Lawyers, we are experienced in all aspects of the application process and can undertake this process on your behalf, and where applicable can liaise with accountants, banking institutions, stockbrokers, insurers and other professionals. Upon the grant of Probate, we can assist with the administration of the estate, deal with beneficiary entitlements and help establish ongoing Trusts.

Contact Madison Branson Lawyers in Melbourne today for expert legal advice on all probate, wills and estate planning matters. Our dedicated team of will and estate lawyers will guide you with confidence throughout the entire process, ensuring your estate plan is tailored to your unique circumstances. 

LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION

In the event a valid Will has not been left, an application for Letters of Administration on behalf of the Estate must be made to the Supreme Court of Victoria. Pursuant to the Administration and Probate Act 1958, (as amended) strict guidelines are set out in how an estate may be distributed and by whom. 

Madison Branson Lawyers advises in all areas of Wills and Estate Planning including:

  • Providing an assessment of the strength of a claim;
  • Represent a claimant in an application to the Supreme Court of Victoria for provision or further provision from a Deceased's estate;
  • Represent an executor of an estate where a claim is made against that estate;
  • Advise beneficiaries of an estate of the likely outcome of a claim against an estate in which they have an interest and advise in relation to alternative dispute resolution opportunities;
  • Probate applications in all jurisdictions;
  • Part IV claims – contested estate claims;
  • Testamentary Trust Wills;
  • Corporate Powers of Attorney;
  • General and Enduring Financial and Medical Powers of Attorney.