I am often asked, “Do I need a lawyer to make a Will?” As a lawyer, I would say, “Of course you do!”
The year 2020 has proven challenging for the world and has demonstrated that it may be impossible to predict what the future holds. This is why it is just as important, if not more important, to appoint an Enduring Power of Attorney, as it is to make a Will. Accident, injury and illness are unfortunately common, and can leave you without capacity, and without the ability to properly manage your affairs. It is therefore necessary you appoint someone you trust to make decisions that are in your best interests, should something happen to you.
Is it time for you to make your Will? Do you understand what it means to have testamentary capacity?
What is testamentary capacity?
To have testamentary capacity, a person must be of sound mind, memory and understanding. This is an area of law which has been clear, for a long time.
It is understandable if you are currently concerned about your health and well-being, as well as that of your loved ones and elders. Many of us are also considering whether our Wills and Powers of Attorney are up to date.
Legal Update: SM  WASAT 22
A recent decision of the West Australian Estate Administrative Tribunal has raised doubts in what was previously thought to be a settled area of the law.
For many people a testamentary trust is a key part of estate planning arrangements. There are a number of tax benefits and other advantages that come from the use of a testamentary trust.
The Guardianship and Administration and other Legislation Amendment Act were recently passed. The provisions have not yet commenced. It makes a number of changes to the law relating to guardianship and powers of attorney which aim to strengthen protections for vulnerable adults.
The loss of a family member is always a difficult time, but it can become more distressing to learn that you have not been included in the Will.
Generally, a person may leave their assets to whomever they wish. However, the law recognises that there are those who relied on the deceased for support that can sometimes be unfairly left out of the Will and are therefore able to make a claim so their needs are adequately provided for.
It is important for everyone over 18 to have a Will to make sure their wishes are followed and their assets are distributed as they would want after they die.
If you don’t have a Will, your assets will be divided according to how the law dictates in the rules of intestacy, that is, when you have not made a Will. If you die intestate it is very likely that your estate will not be distributed as you would have desired.
An estate plan involves more than signing a Will and storing it in a ‘safe place’. Estate planning requires a holistic approach in consideration of a person’s present circumstances and foreseeable future.