How to Find The Best Estate and Wills Planning and Dispute Lawyers in Australia

Successful Estate Planning

Challenge Unfair Wills & Inheritances

Estate and Will  Planning

To be Effective, why Retaining a Holistic Law Firm is Critical!

We put a lot of effort into accomplishing this, understanding every aspect of your situation while considering the broadest possibilities for estate planning. Then, in order to carry out your intentions, we make use of our in-depth understanding of complex structures like trusts, business, family law, tax and other specialties.

The head of our practice area, Jaswinder( Jas) Sekhon, has been a full STEP member for 12 years and deals with estates, trusts, tax, asset protection and succession planning; more than 30 years in the industry; admitted as a practising lawyer in four countries.

Why Successful Clients
use Goldman Law?

DIY Divorce & Separation

Guided Self Help Six Easy Steps To DIY Divorce Keywords: Family Law, Divorce, Divorce in Australia, Divorce Australia DYI | Divorce Separation | Divorce Separation Agreement | Self-Help | legal costs | Lawyers | Family Law | Family Court | Guided Self-Help

Read time : 9 minutes, 22 seconds

Mother’s Appeal Against the Return of Her Child to Norway Dismissed

Key Words Children – Hague Convention – grave risk – mother’s anxiety – depression – abduction Introduction In Hilton & Department of Family and Community Services [2015] FamCAFC 223 (26 November 2015), the Full Court heard the mother

Read time : 3 minutes, 9 seconds

Full Court Finds No Error In An Interim Injunction To Preserve Assets

Keywords: Interim Injunctions;  Jurisdiction, Binding Financial Agreements; Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) Background In Teh & Muir [2015] FamCAFC 224 (2 December 2015), the Full Court heard an appeal by a 36-year-old Ms. Tey against an interim

Read time : 3 minutes, 36 seconds

Goldman Law Awarded & Recognised

“Legal Services Innovation Award” (2022)
“Internation Law Expert Award” (2018)
“Domestic Tax Law Firm – Awarded” (2018)

Contact Our Senior People

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Jaswinder (Jas) Sekhon

Snr Int’l lawyer

Managing partner

20 yrs+ exp, Australia+++

Global awards recipient, diverse and strategic client focus. Commercial, tax finance, litigation, offshore, tax planning, trusts estates, assets, IP, AI , medical, family law and mediation.

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Helen
Duckham

Snr awarded lawyer

General counsel

10 yrs+ exp Australia

Expert in Australian family law and mediation. Commercial and pragmatic. Illawarra Business Woman of the Year.

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Mathew
Nott

Snr criminal lawyer

General counsel

Australia, NSW.

Outstanding on his feet, a criminal expert with a 99%+ success rate! Pragmatic commercial life experienced. Client outcome laser focus.

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Kerry
Turner

Snr Client Relations Manager

Australia, NZ, Int’l

(UK, Dubai, Caribbean)

Client and customer experience expert.
Expert in diverse cultures and specialist client needs
Operations and para-legal support.

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Wills and Inheritances Expertise

Challenge Unfair Wills & Inheritances

Our Expertise in Wills and Estates includes not only planning but challenging in Court unfair wills and inheritances.

  • Challenging Wills & Inheritances
  • Enduring Power of Attorney
  • Enduring Guardianship
  • Discretionary Testamentary Trusts
  • Disability Trusts & Elder Law
  • Probate and Estate Administration
  • Guardianship Board Applications
  • Cross border Estates and Assets

Typical Clients in Estates &
Wills Matters Include...

Challenges to Unfair Wills & Inheritances

How to Prepare for Will Disputes & Protect Your Wealth

Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Lawyer

We can explain to clinets in simple language the difference between disputing a Will and challenging the inheritance, as well costs and critical tips. This is the reason why successful clinets use us.

Before committing to a lawyer you need to ask a number of questions to make sure they are right for you. For example, in disputing Wills the process is short and efficient whereas the contested inheritance could be dragged on through the courts. Court hearings are costly and are a last resort. The best scenarios is to resolve through mediation after commencing pre litigation work.

We have over 30 years experience in this area. A lot of lawyers are simply now jumping on the bandwagon because of the amazing increase in inheritance will disputes.

Mental Capacity & Guardianship Issues

What happens if you lose mental capacity and can no longer make decisions for yourself? How to choose a guardian to make decisions about your medical treatment or lifestyle choices and what to do if you are concerned about a loved one’s mental capacity?

Everyone, no matter their age or health status should have their most basic legal documents in place to ensure if the unexpected happens, and you can no longer make financial and health decisions, that someone who knows what you want will be able to make those decisions for you.

Some of the behavioural traits that someone may exhibit who has diminishing capacity include the below. However our medico-legal experience means we understand very well what is needed from a medical and legal view point.

  • Short-term memory loss or signs of confusion
  • Paranoia-misplaced items.
  • Declining mental health

Testamentary Trusts and International Estates & Planning

When there is a trust-tax and global issues?

A testamentary trust is a trust that is set up under a valid will and the operation of the testamentary trusts and tax obligations may be complicated if there are overseas assets.

A testamentary trust allows the person who controls it to split the income generated by the trust between family members. Simple if all the assets are in Australia.

Our expertise extends to the international aspects of testamentary trusts; tax and succession considerations; such as:

  • Most European countries have systems of forced heirship.
  • Concepts such as domicile and the movables/immovables distinction apply in some countries.
  • Combining discretionary and will trusts and foundations for tax and wealth protection.

Innovative & Simple estate plan solutions

Start with a Will and Testamentary Trust

Protect Your Family’s Inheritance From Disgruntled Family Members

  • Help your blended family provide benefits to both sides of the family
  • Prepare Wills and estate plans that help you deal with any assets you hold outside of Australia.
  • Advise on using trusts, companies and other structures so that your estate isn’t subject to unnecessary taxes.
  • Powers of attorney, enduring guardian appointments, advanced healthcare directives and other devices .
  • Superannuation and plan for making sure your super goes where you intend.

Experience & Trust

With deep local and international expertise for over 30 years.

Growing and protecting successful individuals, family offices and business.

Experience & trust built through sheer hard work

Estates & Wills FAQ's

Anyone over the age of 18 who is married or considering getting married and has testamentary capacity may make a will. With the court's approval, unmarried people under the age of 18 may draft a will. This is especially advised for young people who earn a lot of money through modelling, show business, sports, or endorsements for businesses.

The Court may also grant a will to someone who lacks testamentary capacity in accordance with Part 2.2 of the Succession Act.

Should I contact the attorney to inquire about the suitability of the intended testator?

Many people with testamentary capacity have granted an enduring power of attorney, so this fact alone shouldn't be used to cast doubt on the intended testator's ability to make a testament. Depending on the circumstances of the intended patient, such as whether they are in a nursing home, hospital, etc., it would be wise to first speak with the testator's treating physician or hospital superintendent to determine whether the client has any type of dementia or has different lucidity periods.

There isn't a public will registry in NSW, but several private businesses provide will registration services, such as Goldman Lawyers.

  • Wills made when the client is seriously ill are especially vulnerable to challenge due to a lack of testamentary capacity. There are some actions you can take to give your will the best chance of overcoming such a challenge:
  • Ask the testator directly for the will instructions; if necessary, he or she should be accompanied by a qualified non-family member interpreter.
  • To test the client's testamentary capacity, ask open-ended questions. A good place to start is with the sample questions provided by Kunc J in Ryan v. Dalton in 2017 [ NSWSC 1007 at] 107:
  • Who are the members of your family?
  • What do you have to offer?
  • Whom would you like to leave your assets to?
  • Why did you decide to proceed in that manner?
  • Make a file note of the inquiries and responses.
  • Determine whether any diagnosis, medication, or behaviour may suggest there is cause to be concerned about capacity, if at all possible. Take file notes once more.
  • If you can, ask the client's doctor for advice on testamentary capacity; however, if the situation is critical, make the will right away.

Creating a new will

  • If the client does not already have a will or if you do not have copies of their current will, you will need to draft rewriting it. A new will might be the best choice even if you already have a copy of the current one and there are significant changes that need to be made.

Modifying a current will

  • Making changes to the existing will is an option if we already have the client's current will and the changes you need to make are minor. The alterations must be signed by the testator and attested by two witnesses in accordance with section 6 of the Succession Act 2006 (NSW) ("Succession Act") for formal validity. In anticipation of an application under section 8 of the Succession Act, have the alteration signed by the testator and one witness if a second witness is not available. The date on which the changes are made should be noted.

Codicil

  • Making a codicil is another choice if we have the client's current will. Make sure that any codicil is written clearly, especially in relation to the portions of the will that are revoked and confirmed, so that when the two are read together, they make sense. A codicil should be executed similarly to a will, but if only one witness is present, an application may be made using the dispensing authority set forth in section 8 of the Succession Act.

  • With the Will Annexed, one of the beneficiaries—typically a major beneficiary—can apply for Letters of Administration. When that application is approved, the applicant assumes the role of Estate Administrator, with all the responsibilities, rights, and powers of an executor to carry out the deceased's wishes as specified in his or her will.

What if the will's designated executor is a minor?

 

  • His or her guardian may receive a limited grant of administration, which will expire when the executor turns 18 years old. The executor can then obtain a grant to finish managing the estate.
  • What happens if there are two executors who refuse to cooperate in order to obtain a grant of probate?
  • If the executors choose to accept their appointment, their responsibility is to obtain a probate and carry out their duty of care for the beneficiaries. If a disagreement between executors is delaying the application for probate, one of them should inform the other that they intend to do so and invite the opposing administrator to join the process, preferably with the counsel of sane counsel. If the other executor doesn't respond within the allotted time, the first executor may proceed to file a petition for probate on their own, with permission reserved for the second executor to appear and establish the will.

Before the deceased's assets can be dealt with does a will need to be granted Probate or Letters of Administration?

  • Depending on the type of assets, yes. If the estate is small and the assets include, say, a small bank, credit union, or building society account, these can typically be handled by producing the will to the bank or financial institution, along with the necessary documents for the executor's identity, the completion of the withdrawal form, and an indemnity in the format required by the institution. In this situation, the executor is personally liable to the beneficiaries for the payment of their entitlements as well as the deceased person's funeral costs and debts up to and including the value of the estate.
  • Payment may be made to the next of kin in cases where there is no will, subject to production of the death certificate, the completed withdrawal form and indemnity as described above, as well as proof of their identity, and they will then be responsible for paying and distributing the money to those who are entitled.
  • The person dealing with assets is unable to obtain protection from liability for claims through the publication of statutory notices, which is one drawback of proceeding without a grant of probate or letters of administration. Referring a small estate to the New South Wales Trustee and Guardian, who has additional authority to handle such estates, includes submitting an election to administer the estate, which comes with all the protections of an administration or grant of probate.

When should a request for probation be made?

  • According to the Probate Rules, a request for probate must be submitted within six or six months of the testator's passing. If the application is not submitted within that time frame, the justifications for the delay must be provided in the form of an affidavit, either in its entirety or as part of the executor's application.

Are the costs associated with probate regulated?

  • Up until the grant is delivered by the court, the costs of the legal work involved in obtaining the Probate or Letters of Administration are set at the maximum amount that may be charged. Costs associated with estate administration are deregulated. Before beginning the retainer, practitioners must disclose to their clients their fees, including GST, for work in estates, regardless of whether costs are regulated or not. However, keep in mind that the disclosure requirements do not apply when the total legal costs, excluding disbursements, are not likely to exceed $750 or any other higher amount specified by the regulations.
  • One of the two executors I am representing wants to apply for a commission. Can this be accomplished through a court order or an agreement?
  • If all of the beneficiaries are sui juris (have legal capacity), they can agree on the amount of commission payment; otherwise, an application for a court order to pay commission must be made at the time the estate accounts are filed and approved.
  • According to a Supreme Court ruling in Buckley and Others v. Permanent Trustee Co Ltd (1990) 21 NSWLR 112, if the co-executor had taken part in carrying out the executorial duties, the trustee company may be liable to have its normal rate of commission reduced.

Attorney's Power- In NSW, is a power of attorney subject to stamp duty?

  • No.

Does the Attorney need to register a Power of Attorney before he can sign the contract?

No . However, before dealings involving land, like a Transfer, are signed, it must be listed in the General Registry of Deeds.

Should I give my client's lawyer a copy of his will?

  • A solicitor is not permitted to give the attorney a copy of the will without the client's consent.
  • According to Section 22 of the Powers of Attorney Act, anyone named as the beneficiary of a particular item that is sold, mortgaged, charged, or disposed of by someone acting as an attorney has the same interest in any surplus funds or other estate property as if there had been no such transaction. Therefore, it is wise to inform the attorney if they plan to deal with the principal's property as the beneficiary of a specific bequest.

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