Having an up-to-date and properly drafted will makes life easier for those left behind. Although death can be a difficult subject to talk about, our lawyers will tell you what you need to know with a sensitive but practical approach.
The fact that our firm has a broad client base means that our lawyers have tailored wills to suit people from all sorts of backgrounds. At your initial appointment, your lawyer will ask you about your family and your assets to achieve a personalised approach- we do not operate on a ‘one size fits all’ basis.
Unfortunately, we often see instances where people die without an appropriate will or without a will at all. This could cause significant stress to your family at an already difficult time, not to mention the fact that it can mean that your assets fall into the wrong hands.
Sometimes we are asked about whether completing a home-made will kit will suffice. Although a will does not need to be complicated, there are very formal requirements when it comes to signing and witnessing a will. In our experience, these requirements are regularly overlooked by people who sign up to a home-made will.
As well as ensuring that your will is appropriately drafted, having a lawyer prepare and assist you to sign your will can also prevent issues down the track such as allegations of undue influence or lack of capacity.
Once signed, as a part of our service we will store your original will in our strongroom on your behalf meaning that it is easily located, and we will send you a copy for your personal records.
POWERS OF ATTORNEY
While a will is a document that deals with your circumstances when you die, powers of attorney are documents that will assist you during your lifetime.
Powers of attorney allow you to appoint someone you trust to make financial, legal and medical decisions on your behalf. Often people put in place powers of attorney as they are going overseas and may need someone to sign documents or pay bills while they are away. Powers of attorney are also often made as a precautionary step in case of an accident or illness when you might need someone to assist you with making decisions.
It may sound obvious, but the best time to put in place a power of attorney is before you actually need it. If you are unconscious or have lost capacity then you cannot give a lawyer instructions to prepare the documents. If a family member or friend needs to make a decision on your behalf then their only alternative is to make an application to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). This is a serious application and VCAT does not grant people the power to act on someone else’s behalf lightly.
It is our priority to take care of the paperwork and to make it as easy as possible for our executor clients upon the death of a loved one. On many occasions, family members will make an appointment with us and will tell us that they simply do not know where to start. We will work closely with you so that you understand the process as we appreciate that being appointed as an executor is generally not a role you will carry out many times in your life. Our firm is very experienced and we understand that people deal with grief in different ways.