Wills & Estates

As McAneny Lawyers is a smaller practice, we offer a ‘hands on’ approach. You will deal directly with one of our experienced lawyers from start to finish. We have over 100 years of experience in all aspects of the law, and are particularly experienced in this area of law.
This area of law is an incredibly complex area of law, however, we use our experience and practical knowledge to make it easier for you – whether you simply want to make a new will, power of attorney, or appointment of enduring guardians document, or on the other hand, whether you require more specialised services such as defending, or challenging a will. Please choose an area of interest to you to find out more:

Estate and Succession Planning

This area of law broadly includes making a new will, making a power of attorney, and making an appointment of enduring guardians documentation. Although we make this process quick and simple for you, the formulation of a sound estate plan takes many years to master. We take all of your personal and financial circumstances into account to recommend an estate plan tailored to your needs. In most situations, we can keep your estate planning and the resulting documentation simple by listening to your needs, and priorities. We will also give you, and your family, ongoing practical advice and suggestions regarding the implementation and use of those documents into the future.
We can also work with your preferred financial advisors and/or accountant to ensure that this process is easy, and that nothing is missed.
If you cannot make it into one of our offices, we are more than happy to visit you, wherever you are.

Probate and Letters of Administration

If you are appointed as an executor of an estate, or have questions about whether you can apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration, we can assist you.
Obtaining a Grant of Probate (if a person leaves a valid will), or a Grant of Letters of Administration (in the event that a person does not leave a valid will, or dies intestate) broadly involves making an application to the Supreme Court of New South Wales for the Court’s authority to deal with the assets of a deceased person, and administer their estate.
In the normal course, the role of executor, or administrator, involves identifying assets, calling in (collecting) assets, paying debts, and ensuring that the deceased person’s assets and possessions go to either the people they intended them to go to, or who are entitled to those assets and possessions by legislation.

There are a number of other considerations that you, as executor, or administrator should consider, such as:

  • Taxation implications;
  • Distribution implications on certain beneficiaries;
  • Publishing notices to protect the estate, and you as executor, from future claims;
  • Defending the estate from a challenge to the validity of the will, or in relation to the content of the will; and
  • Ensuring that the distribution of the estate is completed in the correct order and priority.
  • Our advice and guidance in this process will streamline, and simplify the important role of being an executor, or administrator.

Obtaining the Will, or a copy of the Will

As an executor, you have a right to obtain the original will of the deceased person.
As an eligible person, or as a person with a potential interest in the estate of the deceased person, you have a right to a copy of the will.
If you are an executor, you may engage any solicitor of your choosing to assist you in administering the estate.

If you are an eligible person (broadly speaking, a member of the deceased person’s immediate family such as a husband, wife, de facto partner, child, former spouse or partner, or a person, including a grandchild, who was wholly or partly dependant on them for financial or emotional support) you can obtain a copy of the will, and you may have a claim for provision out of the estate of the deceased person.

In some circumstances, you may also be able to obtain a copy of the will if you fall within a category of persons specified by the Succession Act 2006 (NSW) section 54.
It is important that you seek our expert advice from an early stage – we can assist you in obtaining the original will, or a copy of the will, and then upon your rights in relation to an estate.

Estate Litigation

Estate litigation is often an unwelcome reality of being an executor, or being named as a beneficiary in a will. Estate litigation is commenced in the Supreme Court of New South Wales. In 2017, 27,294 applications were made to the Supreme Court of New South Wales either for a Grant of Probate, or a Grant of Letters of Administration.
Of the 27,294 applications for Probate or Administration, 1,267 matters became subject to a claim for Family Provision, or were subject to a contentious Probate suit. In other words, approximately 5% of estates in New South Wales involve Court proceedings to:

  • Challenge the content of the will (known as Family Provision cases);
  • Challenge the validity of the will (known as Testamentary Capacity, Undue Influence, Knowledge / Approval, and Fraud / Forgery cases); or
  • Generally dispute the will, or make an application to the Court – such as the manner in which an estate is distributed, or how certain provisions in a will are read or interpreted (e.g. Wills Construction or Rectification cases, or making an application for a Statutory Will).

Our team has extensive experience in both defending an estate, or making a claim against an estate in relation to all aspects of estate litigation.
We believe that to do this effectively requires timely and practical advice, delivered with personal attention. Although this area of law is complex and involves many grey areas, we recognise that estate disputes very regularly involve emotion, and family issues that are non-legal. We take the time to understand all issues and formulate a plan to resolve a claim upon an estate as quickly and cost effectively as possible.

We are happy to give you a free initial consultation on your prospects of success in making or defending a claim.

Contact us now.
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