Wills and Estates Lawyers Parramatta

Takchi & Associates have experienced wills and estate lawyers in Parramatta, with extensive knowledge in estate planning and estate litigation. Our estate solicitors can assist with:

  • Preparation of Wills and estate planning
  • Powers of attorney and enduring guardianships
  • Family provision claims
  • Administering deceased estates
  • Defending deceased estates
  • Probate and letters of administration
  • International claims
  • Will disputes and estate litigation

Effective estate planning Parramatta

Effective estate planning should consider a range of matters such as:

  • Ensuring your Will is valid, reviewed regularly, and tailored to make the most of your hard-earned assets.
  • Reviewing your superannuation accounts and life policies and ensuring that your beneficiaries are correctly nominated.
  • Appointing trusted family members or friends as attorneys and guardians to help manage your affairs and make decisions in your best interests if you are ill or become incapacitated.
  • Using trusts, if relevant, to protect and safeguard assets and beneficiaries.
  • Ensuring arrangements are in place to deal appropriately with business and company interests as your needs change and on your death.

By considering your unique financial, personal, and family circumstances, our Parramatta wills and estate lawyers can provide strategic advice and formulate an estate plan that is tailored to your needs.

Preparing a Will

An effective Will should provide clarity and make the most of your hard-earned assets. Your Will should appoint one or more executors who will be responsible for administering your estate, and direct how your assets will be left to your beneficiaries. Your Will may also appoint guardians for minor children and provide directions for funeral arrangements.

In some cases, it might be beneficial to include a testamentary discretionary trust. This is a trust created in your Will that comes into effect when you die. Testamentary trusts can help safeguard assets from third-party creditors and protect minors and other vulnerable beneficiaries.

When should you review your Will?

A major change in your personal or financial circumstances generally means you should consider reviewing and possibly updating your Will. Reviewing your Will is particularly important when:

  • you marry, separate, divorce, or start a new relationship
  • you have a child or adopt a child
  • a beneficiary or executor named in your Will dies
  • there is a major change to your health
  • you buy or sell property, start a business, or acquire company interests
  • you receive an inheritance or other windfall
  • there are changes to your superannuation, personal insurance or tax levels
  • you become involved in a trust

What happens if I die without a Will?

Dying without a Will is referred to as dying intestate. In such cases your estate is distributed according to a statutory formula. The rules of intestacy provide for a specific order of distribution to your next of kin. While the rules are designed to reflect society’s expectations, they may not reflect your expectations. Dying intestate makes administering your estate more difficult for your loved ones and can result in:

  • certain family members or friends being excluded from receiving an inheritance
  • a disproportionate distribution of assets between family members or leaving out more needy beneficiaries
  • a distribution to somebody in your family with whom you shared no significant or meaningful relationship

Family provision claims

A family provision claim may be made by an eligible person seeking a share or greater share from an estate. The claimant will need to show that the deceased person had a moral obligation to provide for them and the Will (or proposed distribution of an intestate estate) fails to do so. The claimant must be an ‘eligible’ person (as prescribed in the relevant state or territory legislation) and various factors will be considered in determining a claim. A successful claim can result in the terms of a Will or distribution of an intestate estate being altered in favour of the claimant.

A family provision claim may proceed to court, but most are settled through negotiation and mediation. These matters are generally complex and emotional. Whether you are disputing a Will or defending it, our will lawyers can explain your legal position and help you achieve a successful outcome in the most cost-effective way possible.

Estate disputes

While family provision claims make up a large portion of estate disputes, other contentious issues can arise after a person dies. Will challenges concern claims that a Will is not valid and should therefore be void. Typical grounds for challenging a Will are:

  • Undue influence – a claim that unreasonable influence was exerted over a will-maker so that the provisions of the Will are different to what they might otherwise have wanted.
  • Fraud – a claim that the Will (or part of it) is a forgery, for example, that the signatures are not authentic, or the Will was not created or authorised by the deceased person.
  • Lack of testamentary capacity – a claim that the testator lacked capacity to make the Will when it was executed, for example, when a deceased person suffered from dementia and was not lucid when their Will was made.

Estate disputes can also involve issues regarding the appointment and removal of executors, or the determination of ambiguous terms.

Defending a deceased estate

Executors (or administrators in the case of an intestate estate) represent the interests of the estate and must oversee its proper administration. Executors may sometimes face a family provision claim or other estate dispute.

In responding to such claims there is a primary duty to uphold the provisions of the Will and preserve estate assets. In doing so, however, the executor may need to consider negotiating and resolving a meritorious claim that would likely succeed in court. In all cases, it is important to be guided by an experienced estate lawyer so that a range of outcomes may be considered to make an informed decision on how to resolve the matter.

If you need assistance, contact one of our wills and estates lawyers in Parramatta at [email protected] or call (02) 9687 7933 for expert legal advice.

Arrange a consultation with Takchi & Associates and chat with an experienced Wills & Estate Planning lawyer.