Frequently Asked Questions

Every situation is unique. There are general answers – they are not a replacement for a true, individualized consultation with a lawyer. To have your specific questions answered, please schedule a consultation.

WILLS & ESTATE PLANNING

Wills bought from a newsagent, post office or the various online offerings do not take into account your particular situation. And everyone has a unique situation.

Those Wills do not take into account superannuation. Do you know that your Will doesn’t cover superannuation? By seeing us, we can advise on your superannuation and your nominations, making sure your superannuation and life insurance are given to people you nominate.

By seeing us, we can discuss with you the various pros and cons of choosing certain people as your Executor, Guardian and Trustee. We can guide you and tailor a strategy for you! And you can ask us questions!

We’ll also conduct property searches for you. For example, to see if your home is held as joint tenants or tenants in common, and check for any mortgages. We can also discuss what happens if you pass away and there is a big mortgage to pay by your spouse – can they afford it?

In our 20 years’ experience, we have seen many newsagent/post office Wills and recently online Wills.. and you know what? They cost significantly more when you pass away… in legal fees to determine what happens to your superannuation, in legal fees because the wrong person was appointed executor or guardian and so on. There’s also the emotional turmoil and stress for those you leave behind.

Photo ID (like a Driver’s Licence) and your completed questionnaire.  Our questionnaire is 4 pages and gives you prompts and tips as to appointments you need to make as part of your estate plan.  We’ll discuss these questions in detail when we meet.  For example, there’s tips on a choice of guardian for your young children.

Yes, we have a fire proof safe offsite.  Tell your loved ones (including your chosen Executor) where your Will is, that is, with Great Southern Wills.  We store your documents at no extra cost to you.

We are under a legal obligation to notify you of the closure of our law practice. We have a succession plan where a lawyer we trust and with the same values as us will take over our business, honouring all 3 yearly reviews and giving you a choice to keep your Will at Great Southern Wills and remain a client or to collect your Will.

BTW, we have no reason whatsoever to close our business. We love serving you!

Yes, provided you are all on the same page and all agree that we can act for all of you. It is quite common for farming families, as we tend to say we act for the “farm”.

We’ve also been selling gift vouchers to parents to give to their children – ensuring that any wealth that child accumulates or inherits is given in accordance with their children’s wishes.

Ideally, you should review your Will every 3 years. Also, a review is needed if:

  • You marry (marriage revokes a Will, unless there is a specific clause in your Will)
  • You separate or divorce (divorce revokes a Will, unless there is a specific clause in your Will)
  • You are in a new relationship
  • You have a newborn child
  • You buy real estate
  • You set up or buy a new business
  • You establish a family trust
  • You establish a self managed superannuation fund
  • Your chosen Executor/Guardian of Minor Children:

• Are incapacitated or have passed away;
• Moved and no longer local
• Have had a falling out
• No longer appropriate.

It would also be ideal to review any Enduring Powers of Attorney, Enduring Powers of Guardianship and superannuation nominations.

If you don’t have a Will, your assets will be distributed in accordance with a formula set out in the legislation. It’s an outdated formula as well meaning that your spouse could lose their home and your children’s wealth could be managed by the Public Trustee. Also, family members could end up fighting over your estate if each family member has not been taken into account.

Below is a link to a short video explaining the difference between:

  • Having an update to date properly advised Will;
  • Having no Will; and
  • Having an outdated ill advised or not advised Will.

 

FARM & BUSINESS SUCCESSION

Yes, absolutely.  They are a key part of your plan and it is important to us that all of your advisers are on the same page – your accountant, your financial advisor, your bank manager, your agriconsultant. 

Yes.  We have prepared many applications and all have been successful.  We have long standing relationships with the Office of State Revenue.  Bernadette has a Masters of Tax and 20 years’ experience and can work with your accountant regarding capital gains tax as well. 

Yes, we sure do. We meet with the family on the farm to ensure that everyone is on the same page. We’ll draft Deeds of Retirement and Appointment, Minutes of Meeting, Deeds of Variation of Trust, Deeds of Forgiveness of Debts etc. All the while working with your accountant to ensure there is no resettlement and unwanted tax consequences.

We’ll also work with your bank manager to ensure the change of finance arrangements is seamless.

We’ll also discuss how you’ll fund your parents’ retirement and ensure there is no challenge from your brothers and sisters.

PROBATE & ADMINISTRATION

Not for our clients.  We give all of our clients “My Workbook” which gives you a step by step guide on what to do when they pass away.  Everything they wish for is in this book; written by them in their handwriting.  There is also a section in “My Workbook” which deals with probate and whether probate is required.  Probate can be quite tricky and yes, we would be honoured to assist if you with probate if you wish.

Generally no, as most of the work of an Executor is purely administrative in nature and we do not wish your estate to be gobbled up by legal fees.  We can discuss the many people in your life who could possibly be Executor.

BOOK A FREE CONSULTATION WITH BERNADETTE TODAY

Your first consultation meeting with Bernadette is FREE, and there’s no pressure or obligation to proceed.

In your FREE meeting, we’ll get to know you and discuss all your options. We can have this discussion at our office, over Zoom or in your living room – you choose.

To meet in our office or over Zoom – please click the “Book Online” button below and select a time in Bernadette’s calendar that works for you.

If you would like Bernadette to come to you and for all other enquiries, please call 0405 127 657 or contact us via email by clicking here.