Estate Law

Estate planning and making a Will is a very easy and inexpensive process which can save your family thousands of dollars when done correctly by a professional solicitor.

A person's Will is a written document that sets out the person's wishes about how his or her estate should be taken care of and distributed after death. A person’s Will takes effect when the person dies.

A Power of Attorney for Care or Property is a legal document that gives someone else the right to act on your behalf in case you are unable due to illness or location. When a person dies without a Will the Court may appoint an administrator to distribute assets.

Regardless of the value of your assets, through your Will, you can decide the executor of your estate. It is often erroneously assumed that if you do not make a Will your estate will be automatically left to your spouse or children in its entirety. This is incorrect, without a will your family may face hurdles in getting the estate in accordance to your wishes. This is where we can be extremely important to you. We will guide you through your decision-making process and help you determine the best route to take.

Your beneficiaries
You may name beneficiaries (family members, friends, spouse, domestic partner or charitable organizations, for example) to receive your assets according to the instructions in your Will. You may list specific gifts, such as jewelry or a certain sum of money, to certain beneficiaries, and you should direct what should be done with all remaining assets (any assets that your will does not dispose of by specific gift).

A guardian for your minor children
You may nominate a person to be responsible for your child’s personal care if you and your spouse die before the child turns 18. You may also name a guardian— who may or may not be the same person— to be responsible for managing any assets given to the child until he or she is 18 years old.

What Happens If I Don't Have a Will? An executor
You may nominate a person or institution to collect and manage your assets, pay any debts, expenses, and taxes that might be due, and then, with the court’s approval, distribute your assets to your beneficiaries according to the instructions in your will. Your executor serves a very important role and has significant responsibilities. It can be a time-consuming job. You should choose your executor carefully.
Keep in mind that a Will is just part of the estate planning process. And whether your estate is large or small, you probably need an estate plan. For more information on estate planning, contact us.

If you are not married or in a registered domestic partnership, your assets will be distributed to your children or grandchildren, if you have any— or to your parents, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews or other relatives. If your spouse or domestic partner dies before you, his or her relatives may also be entitled to some or all of your estate. Friends, a non-registered domestic partner or your favorite charities will receive nothing if you die without a Will.

In summary, here are several reasons why you need a valid Will:

REASON 1:
Having a Will ensures that your assets and possessions will be distributed in the manner that you wish, Therefore, if you do not have a Will, the law, Estates Administration Act and Succession Law Reform Act (SLRA) sets out a distribution scheme that may not be what you desire.


REASON 2:
Having a Will ensures that a person you trust will fill the role of the guardian to look after your minor children. Therefore, if you do not have a Will, the guardian will be appointed by the Court itself, which may indeed not be your desired choice.


REASON 3:
Having a Will ensures that a person you trust and is familiar with your affairs will handle your estate. Whereas, if you do not have a Will, an executor will be appointed by the Court, which again may indeed not be your desired choice.


REASON 4:
Having a will may result in reducing final costs.


REASON 5:
Having a will may result in reducing legal costs and delays in handling your estate.


REASON 6:
When an individual passes without a Will and without successor(s), his or her estate is potentially vested in the Government. Having a Will ensures your choices are given priority. If you wish to have a solicitor review your estate and help you make a Will, please contact us.

 

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