ARL Lawyers have a team of experienced lawyers who can assist you and advise you on all areas of personal and future planning, whether it is preparing new enduring powers of attorney, considering how you would like your assets dealt with after your death or working through the options for your business.
The specific areas in which our lawyers can assist you are:
Your Will is a document which sets out your instructions about how you wish your assets to be dealt with after your death and who you want to do this for you (known as your executors). A Will may include instructions for your funeral and appoint guardians for your children.
Some people consider writing their own Will, but since your Will can be one of the most important documents you sign, we recommend that your lawyer prepare one for you to ensure that your wishes are carried out. Wills which haven’t been prepared correctly may cause further issues for your family after you have died, issues which may be prevented by involving an experienced lawyer from the start.
We can help you by:
- discussing how you can best and most fairly provide for your family and dependants, including establishing a testamentary trust in your Will
- ensuring that your wishes have the legal effect you intend, and ensuring your Will is properly drawn up and valid and
- working through the alternatives you must consider (including who may challenge your Will and why).
If you die intestate (without a Will), your assets will be distributed according to the provisions of the Administration Act 1969, which may not be according to your wishes. Your assets may be divided among a larger group of family members than you would have chosen, or expected.
We suggest that everyone over 18 has a Will and that it is reviewed every 3-5 years or as circumstances change, to ensure it is still appropriate. Wills which have been made before a marriage or civil union will be void if they weren’t made in contemplation of that marriage or civil union.
We may also be able to help you structure ownership of your home in order to better reflect the wishes contained in your Will.
If you would like to discuss making a Will with us, our Wills checklist includes the information we will need from you.
Wills Checklist (PDF)
Enduring Powers of Attorney
Enduring Powers of Attorney allow you to appoint someone (the Attorney) to act on your behalf in the event that you are unable to manage your own affairs. You are able to specify in the document how you want matters to be handled and under what circumstances your Attorney can act for you. There are two types of Enduring Powers of Attorney:
- an Enduring Power of Attorney in relation to your property, and
- an Enduring Power of Attorney in relation to your personal care and welfare.
We recommend that you arrange both types of Enduring Powers of Attorney. These can be given to the same person or to different people, depending on your wishes and circumstances. You can authorise the Attorney to act in all of your affairs or only some of them. You can also set conditions and restrictions about how your property should be dealt with or what you would like to happen to you.
While it’s commonly an area that elderly people think about, we strongly recommend that everyone has Enduring Powers of Attorney in place. In the event that you unexpectedly lose capacity to make decisions for yourself and you do not have Enduring Powers of Attorney in place, your family may be required to obtain orders from the Family Court to act as your welfare guardian and property manager.
Succession Planning For Business
Have you considered what will happen to your business when you want to move on and seek new opportunities, retire, or perhaps find yourself in a situation where you are no longer able to work?
It’s important to consider your options, decide what you would like to happen and put the necessary plans in place to make your intentions a reality, realising the value of all the hard work you’ve put into your business.
It’s also about managing risk. If someone in your family suffers a sudden decline in health you may find yourself dealing with your new priority and relying on the key people in your business to keep it ticking over. It’s essential that you have plans in place to deal with the challenges that life throws at you.
Succession planning is a key ingredient in the management of a business. Too few business owners think these issues through, yet most expect to retire on the proceeds of the sale of their business.
Planning ahead for the sale of your business is crucial if you wish to achieve the best possible price. ARL Lawyers can assist you to work through the options and connect you with other professionals who may be able to help.
Establishing a Family Trust can be a useful way of structuring your property affairs and planning for your future. Follow the Trusts link for more detailed information on Family Trusts.
Contracting Out Agreements
A Contracting Out Agreement is a written agreement between you and your partner which outlines how your property should be divided if you separate. Discussing at the start of a relationship how you should divide property if you break up may seem untrusting or unnecessary, but agreements can be important to protect your property for children of an earlier relationship, or if you have set up a Family Trust and do not expect your partner to share in your property if you separate.
Commercial Leases (PDF)