Genders and Partners

The Dangers of DIY Probate

The Dangers of DIY Probate

In most deceased estates if you’re the executor of a Will, you will have to obtain a Grant of Probate from the Supreme Court of South Australia. This grant officially acknowledges that the Will is valid and that you have the right to carry out the administration of the estate.

The Grant is an Order of the Court which lets the world know that a particular piece of paper is the Last Will and Testament of a deceased person, which permits asset-holders like banks and share registries to transfer assets in the name of the deceased into the custody of another person (the executor named in the probated Will).

Obtaining a Grant of Probate is not a simple matter. You should get the assistance of an estate planning lawyer in Adelaide, and like do-it-yourself Will kits, DIY probate can be fraught with unforeseen complications.

What is Involved in the South Australian Probate Process?

An application for a Grant of Probate is not merely a matter of completing a form and paying a fee. Preparing a probate application is an exacting process whose complexity increases with certain types and location of assets owned by the deceased. It is not often a straightforward exercise to obtain & produce the necessary Court documents, and if every one of them isn’t completed according to stringent legal requirements, or if the Will contains any error or inaccuracy (not uncommon) or evidence of potential tampering, your application will almost certainly be requisitioned by the Court. Rectification of the issue will probably involve creation of additional affidavits and refiling of documents, costing the estate even more time and money. Far better to instruct a specialist Adelaide Wills lawyer in the first place.

Business Succession Planning

Business Succession Planning

Think about how much time and effort you put into building your successful business, and then imagine what would happen to your achievement if you failed to plan for the future.

Without a solid business succession plan in place, your company could quickly crumble upon your retirement or death, resulting in much heartache and potential loss of value for your family members and employees.

Fortunately, the Adelaide estate planning lawyers at Genders & Partners can help you navigate this complex area of law so that you can have peace of mind about the long term future of your business.

What Happens When You Do Not Secure a Business Succession Plan in Adelaide?

Business owners put off creating a succession plan for many reasons. They may fear death and not want to talk about the inevitable. They may also be reluctant to give up control of the business during their lifetime, or they may have difficulty choosing a successor among their children or other family members. Even when it is understood who the successor will be and how the business is to be handled, failure to legally document your wishes often results in contention and costly mistakes.

Genders and Partners

Adelaide Lawyer: Becoming An Estate Executor

Becoming An Estate Executor

Has a friend or loved one named you in his or her Will as executor of their deceased estate? If so, you may be confused about your responsibilities and fear that you are not up to the task.

You may be overwhelmed, but the Adelaide probate and estate administration lawyers at Genders & Partners are here to put your mind at ease about your role as an estate executor.

These are some of your main responsibilities when you are named the executor of a deceased estate:

Locate the Will: Hopefully the original Will is often located at the lawyer’s office, but it could actually be anywhere, including among the deceased’s important papers. When you find the original Will, you should take great care not to alter it in any way.

Genders and Partners | Probate and Estate Administration - Lawyer Adelaide

Probate and Estate Administration Adelaide: Some Interesting Cases

Estate Planning: Some Interesting Cases

Hornby v Cavenagh

Supreme Court of NSW

This was a claim under the New South Wales equivalent of the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act. The plaintiff was a niece of the deceased and sought to show that she was an eligible person to make a claim under the Act. To satisfy the requirement of an eligible person, the plaintiff had to show that there was some dependency on the deceased, and that she was a member of the deceased’s household.

Although the plaintiff had resided in the same household as the deceased for four years during the 1980s and was partly dependent on the deceased in this time, the relationship in the last 12 years of the deceased’s life was not close.

Genders and Partners

Wills and Estate Planning Adelaide: Estate Planning to Show Your Family You Love Them

Estate Planning to Show Your Family You Love Them

How can you show your love for your family even after you are gone? None of us knows what the future holds. My godfather died in his 20’s and he left his young wife with a 3 month old baby to take care of. It doesn’t matter what stage of life you are in, you need to be prepared.

Here are a few practical steps to help you be prepared from a financial and administrative perspective.

1. Create a legal Will and keep it up to date.

Even if you don’t think you have a lot of assets, you need to have a Will because you don’t want the government to dictate what happens to your property after you are gone. It will save your family a lot of time and grief, because getting an estate in order after someone has died without a Will can take a lot of time and money.  You may be surprised by how many possessions you own … Super, life insurance, a car … it all adds up.

It is important to discuss who will care for your children if something should happen to both parents. It is certainly a hard decision and there are many factors to consider.

Don’t risk a DIY Will-kit. They are little more than expensive pieces of stationery, and offer no backup or support. They even say on those kits that they are not intended as a substitute for legal advice!  They are the cause of a growth-area in estate-litigation, because so many people make mistakes with them. The problems will only show up after you’re dead and gone.  Then it’s your family & loved ones who have to wear the cost and all the delay and heartache to try to fix it all afterwards.

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Death Duties May Be On The Way Back

Death Duties May Be On The Way Back

On 15 October 2009 the most senior tax-policy advisor to the Australian Federal Government, Dr Ken Henry (Chair – Australia’s Future Tax System Review Panel and Secretary to the Treasury) gave an Address to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.

In that address he identified 6 areas of future opportunities and challenges governments will need to address in respect to taxation.  At the very top of his list was:

“the ageing of the population, posing challenges for the financing of retirement incomes and of increasing health and aged care needs”.

Dr Henry said that taxes levied on broader bases would be more efficient policy tools, probably more equitable and certainly more transparent ways of raising revenue. Without such tools, governments would otherwise be compelled to continue to rely on bad taxes to achieve their spending objectives.

What does this mean, and why should you care?

A number of senior political commentators have recently speculated in mainstream Australian newspapers, that Death Duties, Estate Taxes or Inheritance Levies might well be one of the options likely to be seriously explored, as part of the current tax-reform inquiry.

The re-introduction of death duties could have a severe impact on most deceased estates, unless great care has been exercised to create an effective estate-plan. This is just one example of how a change in the law could drastically affect you & your family.  Make sure that you have a valid, effective & integrated estate plan.  And keep it up to date.

Probate and Estate Administration Adelaide- How To Create An Expensive Disaster For Your Family To Fix After Your Death

How To Create An Expensive Disaster For Your Family To Fix After Your Death

  1. Write your own Will. Use one of those cheap kits from the post office. The cheaper the better – why waste money on expensive stationery?
  2. Even better, download something from the interweb, preferably from another country. Try to get something that doesn’t have any creation date on it –it won’t be hard – that way you can be pretty sure that your Will won’t comply with local laws here and now.
  3. Don’t pay for professional legal advice. Just do it yourself. Type up (or better yet handwrite in a shaky hand) your own Will. Just in case, write up several Wills all on the same day – each slightly different.
  4. Make your gift to your daughter conditional upon her divorcing her loser husband. Put your son’s legacy in trust for 50 years, unless he completes 6 years in the army. Tell your wife that she can only keep the house as long as she never even thinks about another man AND never again speaks to her interfering busy-body mother.
  5. When writing your Will, talk about the assets in incredible detail – down to the serial number on your television. Then forget to keep track of those assets throughout your lifetime. Sell some, give some away, and junk some. It will be good for a laugh as you look up from Purgatory at your family trying to work out which assets are actually part of your estate, and who is to get what.
  6. Also, don’t bother trying to distinguish between your own assets outright, compared with assets that you might own jointly with someone else, or assets that are owned in a trust or company. Just treat them all the same.
  7. Try not to talk about your testamentary wishes with your family. After all they won’t get anything until after you’re dead, so they can jolly well wait until then.
  8. Be as secretive as possible with your own family, especially about your financial affairs. Don’t talk about what you are planning to do. Passively encourage your spouse and kids to assume they know what you want. Leave it vague enough so no one really knows.

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Wills and Estate Planning Adelaide: The Right to Choose – Live or Die

The Right to Choose – Live or Die

Do you have strong feelings about what should happen at the end of your life?

You are not alone.

Around Australia in the last 15 years there have been several legislative attempts to create a framework for assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia, and there have recently been Bills before the parliaments in both South Australia and Western Australia upon this issue.

In 1995, the Northern Territory of Australia became the first place in the world to pass right to die legislation. The Rights of the Terminally Ill Act lasted 9 months before being overturned by the Australian Federal Parliament. At present, voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal in all states and territories of Australia; however the pressure is growing for change.

There are already places in Europe and in the USA where the laws permit degrees of voluntary euthanasia.

Of course this is a sensitive and controversial topic, provoking extreme reactions among people.  It touches upon some of the same issues as Capital Punishment and Abortion.

For some, the sanctity of human life is paramount, and for them religious beliefs prevent any suggestion of termination of life.  This group might be called the “Right to Life” group.