Johnston Withers

Succession planning and wills lawyers.

Dying without a will means no executor is appointed, and the state or territory where you reside will decide what happens to your estate. This can be complicated and expensive for your loved ones – but our team of wills lawyers in Adelaide, Salisbury and regional SA are here to help prevent their distress.

Most of us don’t like talking about things like wills, but enlisting the assistance of our experienced estate and wills lawyers in Adelaide, Salisbury and regional South Australia will give you peace of mind that you’re protected during your lifetime, and the assets you’ve worked hard to accumulate are distributed following your wishes after your death.

Having a valid Power of Attorney and Advance Care Directives are the only way you can choose who can make legal, financial, medical and lifestyle decisions on your behalf if you lose capacity and cannot make decisions for yourself.

How we can help

How our will lawyers can help

Whether you need advice on how to arrange a legal will in South Australia, want help understanding the enduring power of attorney registration process, or looking for guidance around advance care directives, you can rely on our team of leading wills lawyers in Adelaide, Salisbury Lawyers and regional South Australia to provide expert, confidential advice.

That could look like answering questions like “Do I need a will if I have no assets?” and “What makes a will legal in Australia?” or advising on complex matters. We also have teams who specialise specifically in estate planning and contested wills.

Whatever you need, our specialised wills solicitors are here to help.

Talk to our Succession & Will Lawyers in South Australia about

Making a legal will in South Australia

Looking for wills and estate lawyers in Adelaide, Salisbury or regional South Australia? Our expert team will guide you through the process of how to arrange a will that meets all the formal requirements of the Wills Act, including choosing Executors, who is the person(s) that will finalise your legal and financial affairs, and have the responsibility of making sure your wishes are carried out, and can lodge your will with the will registry of SA.

We can also advise on how to reduce the risk of someone challenging your will after your death (more on contested will lawyers here), so you can be confident your assets will be transferred as you wish.

Our wills lawyers in Adelaide, Salisbury and regional South Australia can also advise blended families and business owners, and assist with structuring more complex wills incorporating testamentary trusts, and advise on issues such as protective trusts for incapacitated beneficiaries, guardianship clauses, maintenance of minor children, and provision for the children of prior marriages or relationships.

Appointing a General or Enduring Power of Attorney in South Australia

A Power of Attorney is a document that allows someone else to act on your behalf. This commonly happens in some circumstances where you can’t make those decisions for yourself (for example, when you’re travelling overseas or hospitalised).

You can appoint one or more people who you trust to look after your legal and financial affairs, who will make sure they’re managed in your best interest. This document does not give a person the ability to make medical or lifestyle decisions, this happens under an Advance Care Directive (discussed below).

Our specialist solicitors for wills can draft this document to suit your circumstances and wishes. The document can be drafted so that it has immediate effect and the person you appointed can make decisions concurrently with you or can be drafted to come into effect for a specific period of time (such as while you're overseas) or only come into effect if you lose capacity.

Advance Care Directive

An Advance Care Directive is a document that allows you to appoint one or more people, known as a Substitute Decision-Maker, to make certain medical, lifestyle and welfare decisions for you should you lose capacity to make decisions for yourself (called mental incapacity).

It includes lifestyle and accommodation decisions and may also include directions in relation to the medical treatment you are to receive in the event that you are terminally ill.

An Advance Care Directive must be signed while you have mental capacity but is designed to start in the event that you’re no longer able to manage your affairs due to loss of mental capacity. Our team of leading wills lawyers in Adelaide, Salisbury and regional South Australia are the experts to ask about this before you make any major decisions.

Deed safe

Our team of estates and wills lawyers in Adelaide, Salisbury and regional SA can hold your wills, Powers of Attorney, Advance Care Directives and other testamentary documents in our secure Adelaide, Clare and Port Augusta deed safes at no additional cost. This gives you the peace of mind that your documents are in a safe and secure location.

We can return these documents to you upon your request, and we can also provide the documents to your attorney/decision maker if you lose capacity, or to your executor if you pass away (provided they produce evidence so we can maintain your confidentiality).

Will registry in SA

In addition to storing your wills in our deed safe, we also offer (at no additional cost) to register your will with the Law Society of South Australia Will Registry.

The Will Registry is managed by the Law Society of South Australia and is a system that allows people to record the existence of their will and at what law firm the document can be located. It’s designed to make sure that people and their Executors don’t forget or lose track of where their wills are kept.

The Will Registry can only be accessed by legal practitioners or their employers for the purpose of uploading information regarding a will in South Australia or if they’re looking for a will for a client who’s misplaced their documents or an executor.

Upon obtaining your permission, we’ll upload your information into the Will Registry. Our regional and Adelaide wills lawyers don’t upload a copy of your will or information as to what is recorded in the will. This service is offered at no additional costs to our clients.

Registration of Power of Attorney

Your Power of Attorney will need to be registered with the Land Services Group if your attorney wants to register a dealing with real estate e.g. sale, purchase, mortgage or lease.

You can have the Power of Attorney registered at the time of making it or when your attorney knows they will be dealing with real estate. If your attorney waits until they deal with real estate they should arrange the registration as early as possible to avoid any delays.

Our specialist team of estates and wills lawyers in Adelaide and regional SA and conveyancers can work together to arrange for your Power of Attorney to be registered with the Land Services Group and make this process as seamless as possible.

Meet our team of wills lawyers in Adelaide and regional SA

Emma Wilkinson - Johnston Withers Lawyers

Emma Godson (nee Wilkinson)

Practice leader: Wills and estates
Johnston Withers Lawyers Caitlin Walkington 2

Caitlin Walkington

Practice leader: Litigation
Alex Hoskings Johnston Withers Lawyers

Alexander Hosking

Senior lawyer

Robyn Nayda

Senior lawyer
Jason Bell - Johnston Withers Lawyers

Jason Bell

Senior lawyer
Anthony Mauriello - Johnston Withers Lawyers

Anthony Mauriello

Practice Leader: Property

Frequently asked questions

Do I need a will if I have no assets?

Yes. It’s always important to prepare a will if you have any assets in your name. Your will allows you to distribute not only assets of value but also important sentimental items. In many cases, your superannuation benefits, including a sizable death benefit, may be paid into your estate. It’s important not only to prepare a will but get expert advice about estate planning from lawyers specialising in wills.

What does a lawyer have to do with a will?

A wills and estates lawyer will be able to prepare a legally valid will for you that properly sets out your wishes. The document will also be properly executed before the lawyer and another witness. A specialised wills and estate lawyer can also help you understand the way in which your assets pass upon your death, including giving advice on how joint assets, assets under a family trust, superannuation and so on are dealt with on your death.

Can I write my own will in South Australia?

Yes, but it’s highly recommended that you speak to a wills lawyer in Adelaide or regional South Australia to make sure it’s valid and contains all the necessary information. It’s also important that you obtain advice from a solicitor for wills as to what happens to your assets upon your death.

Can any lawyer do a will?

Yes. Any lawyer can prepare a will, however it’s important to consult a lawyer specialising in wills. Our team of estate and wills lawyers in Adelaide, Salisbury and regional SA are properly trained to:

  • Provide you with advice on how your assets are dealt with on your death

  • Prepare a legally valid will that reflects your wishes

  • Make sure the will is properly executed

  • Provide you with advice about any potential challenge to your will, and discuss how best to minimise that risk

What makes a will legal in Australia?

There are a number of factors that can affect whether or not a will is legally valid. The signing of the will can affect whether or not the will is valid. For example, if the will is not signed in front of two adult witnesses who are present at the same time, that may invalidate your will.

Factors such as mental incapacity of the testator can also render what appears to be a valid will invalid, if it can be established that the testator didn’t properly understand the nature of what they were doing. Undue influence or fraud can also invalidate a will. Having an Adelaide wills lawyer prepare your will can significantly reduce if not eliminate the chance of your will being declared invalid.

News & views from the will and estate lawyers team

Browse all

Who can contest a will in South Australia (and how to do it)

Thinking about contesting a will in Australia? South Australian legislation known as the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act 1972 enables someone who’s been either left out of a will or hasn’t received adequate maintenance to make a claim against the deceased’s estate.

Read more

Your guide to will and estate planning

Here’s everything you need to know about will and estate planning, from what a will is to grounds for contesting a will.

Read more

How to make a will with a lawyer in South Australia

Not sure how to prepare a will so that your wishes are carried out after your passing? It all comes down to knowing how to make a will with a lawyer, which is why we’ve written this guide so you know exactly what to expect when you see one of the will preparation and estate planning specialists at Johnston Withers Lawyers.

Read more

Our team of specialised wills lawyers in Adelaide, Salisbury and regional SA are proud to have helped thousands of people make sure their loved ones are provided for after their death.

When experience matters, we’re here to help you, too.

Post Code