Legal Services - Wills and Estates

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Contact: Annette TempletonKen MackinnonRuth Brown

Richmond and Bennison sensitively and expertly advise clients with their future planning and assists families after the death of a loved one.

We provide legal advice and guidance regarding:

  • Drawing of Wills;
  • Advice as to the content of Wills;
  • Probate of Wills;
  • Provision of Executors and/or Trustees;
  • Advice as to challenging, contesting or defending a Will;
  • Litigation contesting, challenging or defending a Will;
  • Intestate (dying without a Will) issues;
  • Powers of Attorney; and
  • Review of Family Trusts, Self-Managed Superannuation Funds, Trust Deeds and Company Constitutions.

Why do I need a Will?

The occurrence of death for a family is a difficult time and this can be made easier for your family members and people you love if you properly consider and legally communicate your wishes via a Will. Death can be unexpected and it is best to plan how you want your assets and belongings to be dealt with. A Will is certainly important for most people, however this can be even more so for those people with children under the age of 18, loved ones who are dependent on you and also in circumstances of de facto relationships.

What happens if I die without a legal Will?

If you die without a legally valid Will you are said to have died "intestate". Your assets are then
sold and distributed in accordance with a specific formula which is set out in the Administration and Probate Act 1958.

Generally, this means that if you are married and have children, your assets are sold, with the proceeds distributed to your spouse and children. This may not be in the proportions that you might have chosen otherwise. See the attached document, which explains how the above Act may apply to you and your circumstances without a Will.

What is Probate and when does this need to be obtained?

The Grant of Probate is a court order confirming the existence of a valid Will. Documents must be filed in the office of the Registrar of Probate in the Supreme Court to obtain this order.

The Registrar of Probate will then decide if your Will is valid or not.

When don't I need to get Probate?

When all of your assets are jointly owned or are of a fairly modest value, there are occasions when it is not necessary to apply for Probate. We can advise you if Probate is necessary.

For more information please see our fact sheet titled Wills and Estates Making a Will, Obtaining Grants or please contact one of our lawyers below.

For more information please see our fact sheet titled Wills and Estates Fixed or Discretionary Testament or please contact one of our lawyers below.

Contact

Annette Templeton
Senior Wills & Estates Lawyer
Phone: (03) 9580 8311
Email: atempleton@richbenn.com.au

Ken Mackinnon
Consultant
Phone: (03) 9580 8311
Email: kmackinnon@richbenn.com.au

Ruth Brown
Law Clerk
Phone: (03) 9580 8311
Email: rbrown@richbenn.com.au

Pauline Treweek
Law Clerk
Phone: (03) 9580 8311
Email: ptreweek@richbenn.com.au