Be prepared – wills, powers of attorney and other directives

When it comes to managing your affairs, leaving it ‘til tomorrow’ is not a good idea.

A Will is the only document you will ever sign which deals with everything you own, and that makes it just about the most important document you will ever sign.

It goes without saying then that you should have a Will. More than that though, you should have a Will which has been carefully planned and drafted to ensure that your wishes are accurately recorded and can be carried out in the most efficient and tax effective way possible.

By making a Will, you can:

  • make sure your spouse (or de facto), and children benefit the most from your assets
  • choose your own executor - someone you trust to manage and distribute the assets from your estate
  • spare your loved ones the additional grief and distress that may result from the uncertainty of not having a Will and quite often, additional time and expense in administering your estate.

The best time to act is when you have had a change to your circumstances (following the birth of a child or remarriage) or while you are still well and truly able to manage your own affairs and understand what you are doing.

Blanchfield Nicholls can guide and advise you on the best ways to achieve your Will and estate planning goals.

Administering an estate

Taking on responsibility as an executor for administration of an estate can be a real burden.

Administering an estate involves executors dealing in many aspects of the law with which they may be unfamiliar. There are the legal requirements to obtain a grant of probate (to confirm the legal validity of the Will and your appointment as executor) or administration (in cases where there is no Will).

Then there are also the practical aspects of administering an estate to consider, which include dealing with government departments, banks, superannuation funds, utility providers, as well as beneficiaries, who may be impatient, dissatisfied or unhappy, or all three.

Blanchfield Nicholls can help relieve the estate administration burden by assisting executors with all practical and legal steps required to administer an estate from start to finish.

For a confidential discussion about your situation, please get in touch.

Challenging a Will

Disputes over Wills can have many causes. Did the person have the capacity to make a Will? Was he or was she unduly influenced by others? Were there suspicious circumstances surrounding the making of the Will? Did the person make provision for beneficiaries for whom provision should have been made? Does the Will contain errors which do not reflect the person’s wishes?

For these and other reasons, sometimes conflicts about deceased estates cannot be avoided.

If a Will dispute arises, it is essential it is resolved quickly and efficiently, to preserve as much of the estate as possible for the beneficiaries.

If you have questions regarding a Will, you should raise these and seek to investigate and enforce your rights. However, any action needs to be balanced by a willingness to compromise where that is ultimately to your benefit.

Blanchfield Nicholls can advise and guide you to ensure that you are fully informed if you are considering challenging a Will and obtain the best possible outcome on your behalf.

Blanchfield Nicholls also advise executors on challenges of the Will and can represent the estate in any Court proceedings which have been initiated.

For a confidential discussion about your situation, please get in touch.

Elder care and end of life

Do you have arrangements in place in case you can no longer make decisions for yourself? This can happen suddenly and without warning, if you are in an accident. Or it can happen gradually without anyone really realising it, in the case of advancing years.

If you haven’t made arrangements yourself, then the government will do so for you, via the Guardianship Division of the New South Wales Consumer and Administrative Tribunal. That takes time and money, which can make things very difficult if urgent decisions need to be made for you. And worse, the Tribunal may not end up making the decision you want.

You can avoid this and keep control by taking steps before a loss of capacity to make sure those you want to look after you and your financial affairs are appointed as your attorney and guardian.

By preparing a written directive known as an 'Enduring Power of Attorney' or an 'Enduring Power of Guardian beforehand, you can also relieve your loved ones of the burden of making the decisions you are no longer able to make about your medical treatment.

Preparing an Enduring Power of Attorney or an Enduring Power of Guardian is comparatively simple and Blanchfield Nicholls can guide and advise you through the process of preparing an effective Enduring Power of Guardian or Attorney.

For a confidential discussion about your situation, please get in touch.