Wills, Probate and Estate Planning

WHO ARE WE?

Lord Commercial Lawyers is a boutique law firm with expert knowledge and experience in Wills, Estates and Probate Law. The law on Wills Estates and Probate is complex and we have many years experience. We strive to deliver efficient, professional advice and services to our clients.

From a simple Will to complex Estate Planning we offer you a personalised service at competitive prices. Below is a just a few of the areas we can assist. Call Andrew Lord today on (03) 9600 0162 to see how we can help you.

WILLS

It is important to ensure that when you die your estate goes to the people that you care about. It is only by having a valid and enforceable will that you can be certain this will occur.

Every adult should have a will even if they think there that they do not have a lot to leave.

If you do not have a valid binding will when you die your estate will be distributed using a fixed formula which has been determined by the government. This formula is applied regardless of your situation. It may mean that your estate is not distributed the way you would want to be.

To download our information sheet on wills click here.

POWERS OF ATTORNEY

For many people it is important to ensure that if they are absent or ill that someone is authorized to make decisions and sign documents on their behalf.

A power of attorney is a formal document authorizing a person to do these things.

MEDICAL POWERS OF ATTORNEY

An Enduring Power of Attorney (medical treatment) is a particular type of power of attorney which allows you to appoint someone to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are no longer capable of doing so.

To download our information sheet on the standard powers of attorney click here.

PROBATE OR LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION

When a person dies, it is often necessary to take a number of legal steps so that:

  • Access to bank accounts and superannuation funds can be obtained;
  • Real estate and other assets can be sold; and
  • Your estate can be distributed in accordance with your will.

If a person dies with a legal will usually a grant of probate of the will has to be obtained. A grant of probate gives the executor of the will legal authority to deal with the estate in accordance with your will.

LETTER OF ADMINISTRATION

Where a person dies without a legal will then the assets of the estate must be distributed in accordance with formulas that have been predetermined by the government. Notwithstanding this it may still be necessary to obtain letters of administration from the Supreme Court, which will allow the assets and liabilities of the estate to be dealt with.

Letters of administration authorize a person (called an administrator) to administer the deceased’s estate and distribute assets.

SUPERANNUATION DEATH BENEFITS

When a person dies, it is necessary to take a number of legal steps in order to gain access to his or their superannuation funds. This is different to obtaining a grant of probate and dealing with the estate although often there is an overlap.

Your Superannuation does not necessarily have to be distributed in accordance with your will.

Depending on whether you have completed a binding death nomination your superannuation death benefit can only be paid out to persons who are dependants of the deceased. It is up to the trustee of the superannuation fund to determine who are dependants and how much of the superannuation fund each dependent will receive.
The usual procedure is that:

  • A dependant includes a spouse (which includes a spouse through marriage and a domestic partner, who is a person who, although not legally married to the deceased, lived with that person on a genuine domestic basis as the husband or wife of the deceased) or any other child (which includes a legally adopted child, a step child or an ex-nuptial child) of the deceased
  • A person who can show they were financially dependent upon the deceased at the date of death. Generally if there is a will, the trustee of the superannuation fund will distribute the death benefit in accordance with the terms of the will.