BAKER DEANE
& NUTT

Canberra
Level 1, 1 Farrell Place
Canberra City ACT 2601
Phone: (02) 6230 1999

Queanbeyan
260 Crawford Street
Queanbeyan NSW 2620
Phone: (02) 6299 3999

Wills, Estates and Powers of Attorney

BDN offers comprehensive services in all aspects of estate planning and administration.

Everyone over 18, regardless of the property they own, should have an estate plan, including at the very least a Will and Enduring Power of Attorney. Only a solicitor can ensure these documents comply with all legal requirements and express your intentions.

We can assist you with:

  • Will drafting;
  • Powers of Attorney;
  • Appointing an Enduring Guardian;
  • Creating trusts;
  • Estate planning;
  • Probate and estate administration; and
  • Contesting a Will.

Wills FAQs

What is a Will?

A Will is a legal document setting out how you would like your assets distributed on your death.

Who should have a Will?

Everyone over 18 years should consider having a Will.

What happens if I die without a Will?

If you die without a Will, your assets will be distributed according to intestacy provisions contained in legislation. This process can be inconvenient and costly and members of your family may not receive the benefits you wish them to.

Why should I ask a solicitor to draft my Will?

A solicitor will provide advice about:

  • Appointing a suitable executor;
  • Distributing your assets in a tax effective way;
  • Arranging your affairs so a Will is less likely to be challenged.

A solicitor will also ensure a Will is drafted in accordance with legal requirements to ensure:

  • The Will is valid;
  • Gifts do not fail; and
  • Estate costs are minimised.

A Will is a complex document and should always be drafted by a solicitor.

When should I update my Will?

Your Will should be updated regularly to reflect changes in your personal and financial situation such as marriage, death, divorce and purchase of property. Some life events have the potential to partially or fully revoke an existing Will.

Can a Will be disputed?

Even a well drafted Will can be subject to dispute. We can advise you about this when you make or update your Will.

I have been left out of a Will, what can I do?

It is sometimes possible to challenge a Will if you have not been adequately provided for. Contact us for advice and further information if this is a concern for you.

What is an estate plan, and do I need one?

An estate plan is a comprehensive plan for use if you become seriously ill or die. It should ideally include your Will, your Power of Attorney (and Appointment of Enduring Guardian in New South Wales) and a binding death nomination for your superannuation.

You do not need to be wealthy to benefit from an estate plan, nor must a plan be complex and expensive.

Contact a solicitor to discuss what is appropriate for you.

Estates FAQs

What is an estate?

An ‘estate’ is the term for all the assets and finances of someone who has died.

What is probate?

Probate is a grant from the Court empowering an executor appointed by a Will to administer the Will. It is commonly referred to as ‘proving’ the Will, and is necessary before an executor can deal with any property.

It is the responsibility of the executor to seek probate.

What is administration?

A grant of ‘letters of administration’ or just ‘administration’ is the equivalent of probate for the estates of people who did not make a Will or if an executor is not available to seek probate.

Usually next of kin will apply for administration.

Do I need probate/administration?

Only estates of very low value do not require probate or administration.

Why should a solicitor assist with probate/administration?

Estate law is complex. A solicitor experienced in probate/administration can ensure that the estate is distributed correctly in a timely fashion and that the obligations of the executor/administrator are fulfilled.

Powers of Attorney FAQs

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a legal document appointing a person (your attorney) to manage your affairs while you are alive.

An attorney may be appointed for a brief period of time or on an on-going basis.

Why do I need a Power of Attorney?

If you are seriously ill, travelling overseas or lose your mental capacity, your attorney can make decisions and act on your behalf.

In the ACT, your attorney can be appointed to make decisions about your finances, property, health care and living arrangements.

In NSW, your attorney can only make decisions about your finances and property. If you want to empower someone to make decisions about your personal care and health care, you must appoint an Enduring Guardian.

Am I too young to appoint an attorney?

Everyone over the age of 18 should consider appointing an attorney. Usually it is not possible to anticipate when you might become seriously ill.

In particular, it is a good idea to appoint an attorney when you are:

  • Over 18 years of age;
  • Planning an overseas trip;
  • Due to have a medical procedure;
  • Thinking about retirement;
  • Planning your estate.

Who can prepare a Power of Attorney?

Only a solicitor can prepare, advise on and witness a Power of Attorney.

Baker Deane & Nutt