The 7 Deadly Sins of DIY Wills

The 7 Deadly Sins of DIY Wills

The 7 Deadly Sins of DIY Wills

Trying to DIY the most important legal document in your life is a bad idea. This is a specialised area of law, and when you don’t know what you’re doing, it is very easy to make critical errors trying to do this yourself. Any mistakes you make won’t become apparent until you die, and it’s too late for you to fix them, so it will be your family who has the stress and cost of dealing with it all.

Here are 7 of the most common errors people make with DIY Wills:

  1. No Advice. While DIY Will-kits and online services might provide you with a document that looks like a Will, appearances can be deceptive.       What you are paying a lawyer for is the advice they provide you along with the Will. It is illegal for anyone other than a licensed lawyer to provide legal advice for a fee, whether that means answering questions or making planning suggestions for how to accomplish goals. So the companies that offer DIY Wills or kits or online documents are always careful to tell you that they are not giving you legal advice, and they ALWAYS recommend that you consult a lawyer if you have questions.

Deceased Estates Simplified Cover

Challenges to a Will or Estate in South Australia

A Guide for Beneficiaries of a Deceased Estate in South Australia | Genders and Partners

Challenges to Wills are far less common than challenges to estates. A Will can be contested or challenged when it is alleged that the Will was:

  • executed under undue influence from others
  • executed when the testator lacked capacity to understand what he/she was doing
  • tampered-with or altered after it was signed
  • the meaning of the Will is unclear
  • a later Will has been made by the Deceased
  • incorrectly executed or otherwise invalid due to a failure to follow the correct formalities
  • since been revoked
  • procured via fraud

the best new years resolution to help your family

The Best New Year’s Resolution to Help Your Family

the best new years resolution to help your family

Another year has passed and 2018 is already here. The New Year is a time of optimism and noble resolutions to quit bad habits, get organised, pay off debt and save money. It’s a good time to take a look at your estate plan to make sure it is in place and up to date.

Your estate planning documents determine who will receive your property when you die, and also determine who has the right to make financial and major medical decisions during your lifetime. Getting your estate plan right will save money and heartbreak for you and your family.

Less than half of adult Australians have any estate planning documents in place and many of those people may have outdated documents. Documents that were created when you first got married or when your children were born may need updating years later, after your family and financial situation have changed entirely.

Critical Importance of Making a Will to Protect Children’s Inheritance From Previous Relationships

Critical Importance of Making a Will to Protect Children’s Inheritance From Previous Relationships

Critical Importance of Making a Will to Protect Children From Previous Relationships

Blended families include children form previous relationships (step-children).  They are growing quickly in number, but many people do not stop and think about the implications on children from previous relationships if they die without a Will.  It is a dangerous assumption that the law will automatically protect your biological and step children, as numerous scenarios can preclude or reduce the amount that they receive after you die if you do not seek the counsel of an experienced Wills lawyer in Adelaide.

What Happens If You Die Without a Will?
South Australian law provides that, depending on the size of your estate, your children from previous relationships may receive nothing if you die intestate. For estates valued at less than $100,000, the entire estate goes to the surviving spouse or domestic partner unless a valid Will is in place. For larger estates, your spouse is entitled to the first $100,000, your personal belongings and half of the estate’s balance.  Without litigation, at best your children will receive equal shares of the remaining balance (if any).

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End-of-Life Planning

End-of-Life Planning

Deciding how you want to live out your last days is a touchy subject for most people, but if you don’t take the time to do so now, you and your loved ones could end up suffering needlessly. While you are still of sound mind, you need to determine whom you trust to make decisions about your lifestyle and medical care if you are ever incapacitated.

An expert Adelaide estate planning lawyer can document your end-of-life wishes with an Advance Care Directive to help you attain peace of mind about your future and get back to the business of living in the moment.

Estate Planning Complications of a Lost Will

Estate Planning Complications of a Lost Will

Estate Planning Complications of a Lost Will

Failing to keep your estate planning documents safe can cause major complications, for you and your family.

In South Australia, the simple form of Probate, known as a Grant of Probate in Common Form requires production and surrender of the Last Will and Testament of the deceased. This means that the original signed document must be located as a matter of priority. Otherwise the executor may not be able to deal with the assets of the deceased.

If the original Will cannot be located, the situation may not be hopeless. A different form of Probate, called a Grant of Probate in Solemn Form, may be attempted with a draft or copy of the last known Will of the deceased.

Choosing a Guardian for Your Children

Choosing a Guardian for Your Children

Choosing a Guardian for Your Children

What is a testamentary guardian, and why do I need one for my children?
A testamentary guardian is an adult nominated in a parent’s Will to care for their minor children in case both parents die before the children turn 18.

When we have young children, we understand that if one parent dies, the other parent will automatically retain parental responsibility. But in case both parents die prematurely, each needs to nominate in their Will an alternate testamentary guardian for their minor children.

Otherwise your children may end up in a home you wouldn’t choose for them, being parented in a way that’s not in accordance with your values.

Binding Financial Agreements are an Important Part of Modern Estate Planning

Binding Financial Agreements are an Important Part of Modern Estate Planning

Binding Financial Agreements Are an Important Part of Modern Estate Planning

Modern relationships are fraught with tension and complexities when it comes to finances. Looking ahead to the time when you and your partner are established in your careers and have accrued considerable assets, it makes sense to want to protect what is yours should the relationship end.

Marriage, de facto and domestic partnerships

Australian Census data from 2011 shows that the married proportion of the total population has been falling. It is no longer the case that a majority of the population is married. Not so long ago the married proportion was as high as two-thirds of the entire population during the mid-20th century.  In 2011, this has dropped to less than half., and the relative divorce rate in Australia remains one of the highest in the world.

What Are Testamentary Trusts?

What Are Testamentary Trusts?

What Are Testamentary Trusts?

You can think of a trust as a kind of legal-container, in which assets are held safely for the benefit of one or more people. A testamentary trust is setup in a Will, which appoints one or more trustees to distribute income & capital to beneficiaries over time and with certain guidelines in place.

This offers several benefits over standard Wills. Incorporating a testamentary trust into your Will is not relevant in every situation, but our specialist Adelaide estate planning law firm can help you determine if this legal measure would be of benefit to you and your loved ones.

How a Testamentary Trust Works

There are different types of testamentary trusts. A discretionary testamentary trust generally names a class of beneficiaries from which the trustee can choose to distribute, meaning that the trustee controls the assets and maintains legal protections for them until they are distributed to the end-beneficiary. Sometimes the trustee only distributes income from invested assets to one class of beneficiaries, keeping the capital distribution for a separate class of beneficiaries. In this way, the income-benefit of an asset can be given to a person, without them (or their “predators and creditors” being able to get their hands on the underlying asset.