Estate planning is important to ensure your family’s long-term financial security and to be confident that your assets will be distributed as you would like in the event of your death. Johnston Withers are leading Wills & Estates lawyers and can assist you with a range of related service areas.
We can help in the following areas for Wills & Estates:
Wills for South Australian families
A will is the best way for you to ensure your loved ones are provided for after your death. Without a will the wishes of a deceased person have no way of being known, and the administration of an estate without a will can be complicated and expensive.
Our Wills & Estates lawyers will help you to prepare a will that meets all the formal requirements of the Wills Act. We will also work with you to choose Executors – the person(s) who will finalise your legal and financial affairs and have the responsibility of ensuring your wishes are carried out.
Our Wills & Estates lawyers can also advise on how to reduce the risk of someone challenging your will after your death, so you can be confident your assets will be transferred as you wish.
Our Wills & Estates lawyers can also advise on 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.
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a document which allows someone else to act on your behalf in some circumstances where you cannot make those decisions for yourself (e.g. you are travelling overseas or hospitalised). You can appoint one or more people to look after your legal and financial affairs and ensure they are managed in your best interest.
You can limit the powers the person has, for example their ability to sell your property or manage your business affairs.
A Power of Attorney must be signed whilst you have the legal capacity and does not apply if you are mentally incapacitated. If you need advice, our Wills & Estates lawyers can assist you to make the right choices and decisions.
Enduring Power of Attorney
An enduring Power of Attorney is a Power of Attorney document designed to continue to operate if you lose your mental capacity.
Both Power of Attorneys and Enduring Power Attorneys give a person power to act for you in regard to legal and financial matters. They do not give a person the ability to make decisions concerning your welfare and lifestyle. To ensure you are establishing the right foundation for Power of Attorney, contact our Wills & Estates lawyers today.
Advanced Care Directives
An Advanced Care Directive is a document that allows you to appoint a person, known as a Substitute Decision Maker to make certain lifestyle and welfare decisions for you should you become mentally incapacitated.
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 Advanced Care Directive must be signed while you have mental capacity but is designed to commence in the event that you are no longer able to manage your affairs due to loss of mental capacity. Our Wills & Estates lawyers are the experts to ask about this before you make any major decisions.
Adelaide Estate administration
If you have been named the Executor of an Estate, or you are the next of kin of a person who has died without a will, our Wills & Estates lawyers can help you to fulfill your obligations and administer the estate.
We can help you
- identify the assets and liabilities of an estate
- obtain Probate or Letters of Administration
- pay the debts of the estate
- attend to asset transfers and sales
- help attend the registration of death on any jointly owned assets (e.g. real estate)
Johnston Withers and our Wills & Estates lawyers have considerable experience acting for both Plaintiffs and Defendants in matters relating to contested estates. We can act where the validity of the Will is in dispute, or where further provision is sought under the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act despite the Will being otherwise valid.
Some Wills are challenged when it is alleged that a person did not have the mental capacity to sign the Will, or that someone applied undue pressure to the person when the Will was created.
Wills are also often disputed by a spouse or children when they feel they were not adequately provided for in the Will. This can be especially difficult when there are blended families and several people with competing interests.
Johnston Withers Wills & Estates lawyers recognise the complexity of these matters and will always act with integrity to help ensure the maintenance of family relationships after the dispute has been resolved.