Will and Estate Planning Services
Planning for your family’s future once you’re gone is an essential, yet often overlooked legal responsibility.
Estate planning isn’t just for the wealthy – anyone who has assets (property, cash, goods, businesses, investments), life insurance, superannuation, or even intellectual property should have a will and appoint their enduring power of attorney. These are the cornerstones of an estate plan.
To make sure your estate is administered according to your wishes and with the fewest complications possible, you need to seek professional advice.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
Phoenix Law can help you make an effective, legally binding will and testament to save your family from experiencing unnecessary stress and monetary complications while they grieve.
Our legal firm in Brisbane can:
- Advise you in regard to estate and probate laws
- Write a will that maximises the inheritance for your family
- Set up family and testamentary trusts
- Advise you in regard to choosing executors and guardians
- Minimise the chance that your will is contested and subject to litigation
- Advise in regard to estate tax (including capital gains) and other financial concerns
- Safely store your will and other important legal documents
At the same time as considering your will, we recommend putting plans in place for any future incapacity you may experience. Drafting Power of Attorney and Guardianship documents will ensure that if you cannot make future decisions about your finances, your medical treatment or living arrangements, the person you trust most to make these decisions won’t be hindered.
What Is a Power of Attorney?
Anyone over the age of 18 who has the capacity to understand the nature and consequences of their actions, who makes decisions of their own free will and who can communicate clearly what those decisions are can make a power of attorney document.
There are three types of documents used in Queensland to appoint others to make certain decisions on your behalf.
General Power of Attorney
A legal document to give nominated people specific authority to make financial decisions on your behalf, ensuring your best interests are looked after when you cannot do so yourself.
Enduring Power of Attorney
In the event that you can’t manage your affairs, enduring power of attorney covers financial and health decisions. In this case, the person you appoint can pay bills, deal with Centrelink and taxation, monitor investments, and assist with your living arrangements, healthcare and diet.
Advance Health Directives
This document allows you to plan what medical treatment or healthcare you would wish to have if you’re too ill to make those kinds of decisions for yourself. You can specify acceptable treatments or you can appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf. You’re also able to make any relevant information known to medical staff through this document, such as allergies, medication or religious beliefs.
Without an Advance Health Directive in place, there are no legal means to make your wishes regarding when to stop or withhold life-sustaining measures known. Phoenix Law recommends having an Advance Health Directive and a Power of Attorney in place.
Who Should I Appoint to Be My Attorney?
You need to appoint someone you trust to make the right decisions. You can appoint more than one person if you wish, and you can specify exactly how they make their decisions. Make sure that the person you appoint has the necessary skills to deal with your finances.
There are a number of people you need to consult when making decisions about your power of attorney:
- It’s really important that you discuss these documents with a legal firm in Brisbane who can give you professional advice about your particular circumstances.
- You should also talk about your Advance Health Directive with your doctor so they can explain the relevant terminology to you.
- It’s vital that you discuss your wishes with your family to avoid unnecessary conflict and stress.
Do I Need a Witness?
It is vital to have your signature witnessed before a lawyer, notary public, commissioner for declarations or justice of the peace. Your witness cannot be your attorney, a relative, a healthcare provider or a paid carer. Your witness cannot be a beneficiary of your will.
Can I Change My Mind?
Yes, as long as you still have the decision-making capacity to do so, you can revoke or change these documents. Updates have to be done in a legally binding way so please seek legal advice.
Probate and Deceased Estates
At Phoenix Law, we understand that organising a deceased estate is one of the more difficult challenges in life. With mountains of paperwork, legal jargon and simmering family disputes, they’re the last things you want to deal with when you’re grieving the loss of a loved one.
Let us help ease the strain by:
- Interpreting the will of the deceased in terms of estate laws
- Advising executors and trustees about their duties and rights
- Informing government bodies including Centrelink and Veterans Affairs
- Applying for probate of the will in the Supreme Court
- Dealing with intestacy
- Applying for letters of administration
- Identifying estate assets and liabilities
- Obtaining valuations of estate property
- Collecting estate financial assets, including superannuation, bank funds, shares, outstanding loans, and insurance payouts
- Selling or transferring estate property
- Organising payment of estate debts, including mortgages, funeral costs, and testamentary expenses
- Advising in regard to family and testamentary trusts
- Administering trust funds
- Distributing bequests and inheritances to beneficiaries
- Organising information for estate tax returns
- Family mediation and negotiation
- Contesting wills and defending estate litigation in the Supreme Court
Speak to Phoenix Law Today
As a respected member of the Queensland Law Society, you can trust Phoenix Law to help you organise your estate, create your will and resolve disputes. Learn more about our personalised services by calling (07) 3180 0908 or contacting us online.
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