Legal Articles
Last Will & Testament

“I have not seen my child in 20 years, why should I give him anything in my will?” Most people would think that they should be entitled to leave their estate to whomever they wish when they die, or indeed make whatever charitable requests they choose. Whilst as a general principle that proposition is true, there are some significant exceptions that need to be acknowledged in making a will. 

The Queensland Government recently passed the Justice Legislation (COVID-19 Emergency Response – Document and Oaths) Regulation 2020.  The purpose of the legislation is to address the issue of physically witnessing and signing documents amidst the social distancing restrictions that are currently in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Estate and succession law is built on one central pillar: preparedness. We draft wills to ensure our loved ones receive our assets when we cannot distribute them ourselves, and we sign Enduring Powers of Attorney so that in the event we cannot make decisions, someone we trust can. The lesser-discussed Advance Health Directive (AHD) is yet another example of preparing for the unknown. What is an AHD? AHDs provide principals with an opportunity to provide or withhold consent with respect to certain medical treatments and health care practices. The documents sit dormant, with no effect, until such time that the… Continue Reading

last will and testament

According to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, nearly half of all Australians die without a valid will, or ‘intestate’. The legal and procedural complications that can arise in the event of intestacy can be both costly and time-consuming.  What is a will? A will is a legal document that provides directions with respect to how you would like your estate to be managed and distributed after your death. It allows you to choose someone to administer your estate (i.e. your executor), enables you to provide specific directions or instructions regarding a particular issue (such as funeral arrangements or nominating… Continue Reading

Judge gavel

Within the legal profession, a question has often been asked that has had no clear answer – can an Enduring Power of Attorney extend a binding death benefit nomination for an incapacitated principal?  In a recent decision of the Supreme Court of Queensland in Re Narumon Pty Ltd [2018] QSC 185, this question was recently considered and a clear decision handed down. Background The applicant, Narumon Pty Ltd, is the trustee of a self-managed superannuation fund established in 1992.  The sole member of the fund was Mr John Giles who passed away in 2017, aged 80.  Mr Giles was survived… Continue Reading

last will and testament

What happens to your financial and health if you become incapacitated for any reason (such as a car crash or other accident)? What if you are overseas, or away from home, and cannot sign a document which needs urgent attention? What happens when you become elderly and just can’t keep up with the demands of your finances, and everything is just too complicated? Who is able to help you when you can’t help yourself? Who is able to assist you and make decisions on your behalf? May we take this opportunity to draw your attention to the existence of a… Continue Reading

money

Have you lost track of old bank accounts, shares, superannuation or life insurance policies? Have you moved address and cannot recall whether you notified a company or firm who may be holding money on your behalf such as your lawyer, real estate agent or accountant? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you may have unclaimed money. There are two websites where you can search for unclaimed money free of charge. These websites are: Australian Securities & Investments Commission – This website will search for general unclaimed money (such as lost shares, bank accounts and life insurance policies… Continue Reading

power of attorney

An Enduring Power of Attorney is a document which we all need to have in place to guard against the possibility we may suffer a serious accident or illness and find ourselves unable to manage our own affairs and deal with all the personal and financial issues which are a normal part of daily life. If a person becomes incapacitated and doesn’t have an Enduring Power of Attorney in place, those close to them end up in a state of confusion as to the manner in which they manage the simplest of tasks on behalf of the incapacitated person. This… Continue Reading

Checklist

Locate the deceased’s Last Will & Testament Confirm you have been appointed the executor of the estate and check whether the Will contains any wishes of the deceased concerning their funeral arrangements or burial. Liaise with a funeral director regarding funeral arrangements ensuring you have confirmed the following: The estate has sufficient funds to pay for the funeral. If the funds have been frozen or there are insufficient funds, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions; The manner in which the funeral home will require payment and how/when payment is required to be made; and Whether the deceased has funeral… Continue Reading

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