Estate planning is about more than just making a Will. Our Wills and Estates lawyer (Julie Ferguson) can help you to make secure plans for your passing that protect your family and loved ones and ensure that your assets aren’t lost.

Estate planning is an important process, and it’s important to start estate planning while you’re still fit and well. Thorough estate planning can give you the peace of mind of knowing that, if the worst happens, your wealth and assets are protected.

At Ferguson Legal Solicitors, we work hard to help our clients navigate complex estate and inheritance laws in New South Wales. Our Wills and Estates lawyer, Julie Ferguson, has years of experience assisting our clients with drafting their Wills and all the aspects of planning that are necessary to make an effective gift with your assets.

Many people don’t know, for example, that superannuation is not part of an estate and may not be captured by the terms of the Will. We can talk you through what needs to happen in relation to your superannuation and how to make that benefit the people you want it to benefit.

We can safely store your original Will and other important documents, without charge.

Powers of Attorney and Guardian Authorities

Giving someone a Power of Attorney allows them to act for you in relation to your legal and financial affairs, while you are alive. This can be limited to dealing with certain assets only or certain circumstances only such as when you cannot look after your own financial and legal affairs, for whatever reason.

Appointing someone as your Guardian means that, if you could not make decisions for yourself, because you have lost mental capacity to do so, they can make decisions about where you live and what health care you receive.

If you haven’t appointed a Guardian or Attorney and lose capacity to make those decisions for yourself, there may need to be an application to the Tribunal for the appointment of a Financial Manager or Guardian.

This can cause delays, conflict and unnecessary expense, and the person appointed may not be the person you would have chosen. For example, you may end up with the NSW Public Trustee or Public Guardian… who don’t know you at all… making decisions about you. These are also expensive options which can have a significant effect on your lifestyle and financial situation.

So, for all these reasons, it is best to do these documents while you can.

If you need help with Guardian Authorities and Powers of Attorney documents in Ballina or surrounds, we will guide you through the process. We can also assist if you live further away, we do meetings by phone or zoom, and have any clients wo live a great distance away.

We work closely with our clients to understand their situation and clearly explain the range of options available so that you can make informed decisions about your possible needs now and into the future, while you are alive.

As well as offering expert legal advice and guidance, we’ll take care of all the necessary paperwork to put your plans into action.

Family Provision Claims

Our Wills and Estates lawyer, Julie Ferguson, also has years of experience in acting for claimants and Executors in relation to claims against estates. This goes hand in hand with her experience as a consultant in drafting Wills and assisting with estate planning.

Wills made in suspicious circumstances, such as where the deceased may have lost mental capacity at the time the Will was made, can be challenged. The evidence in relation to the circumstances of the Last Will and the content of previous Wills becomes critically important if you challenge the validity of the Will. We can work through that with you and help to gather the relevant evidence to assess the viability of such a claim.

If it is determined that the Will itself should not be challenged, we can also identify and assess the size and nature of the deceased’s estate (and any competing claims) and then advise you about the best way to resolve your dispute.

In NSW, the Court will consider all property owned by the deceased at the time of their death, and in addition, can add in “notional property” which can capture jointly owned assets and assets transferred in the 3-year period before death. Superannuation can also be brought into the estate asset pool, in some circumstances.

The age, health and financial position of claimants and named beneficiaries is the most significant factor in the Court’s determination of whether to make further financial provisions for a claimant. The Court will also look at the relationship between the deceased and the claimant, and whether there is any “disentitling conduct” on the part of the claimant.

In NSW, you have 12 months to make a claim on an estate if you are in the categories of people entitled to do so.

We can prepare the necessary court documents including the necessary evidence confirming your relationship with the deceased, your financial circumstances and current and future needs and then file the relevant court documents on your behalf to formally commence legal proceedings if negotiations fail to resolve the dispute.

We will conduct your case in Court in a way that ensures that the dispute is finalised as quickly as possible with a minimum of costs and stress for you.

It is usual for matters to go to mediation before significant legal costs are incurred, and many matters resolve at that point, sometimes even before Court proceedings have been commenced. It is important to come and see us as soon as you can, to make the most of the time available before Court proceedings must be commenced.

The law in this area is old and complicated and applied by Courts in a way that can look inconsistent. That is partly because every case is different. We can help you identify the strengths and weaknesses in your case, gather evidence, prepare proper arguments and submissions and answer your questions every step of the way.

We work with experienced and sensible Counsel to make your matter as easy and successful as possible for you.

This is an area of law where experience counts, and we have the experience you need.

Contact us today to arrange a consultation with Julie Ferguson, or to discuss our other services across Family Law.