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Wills and Estate Law

Whether you’re married, single, have children or not, it’s important that you understand your rights when it comes to Wills, Estate Planning and Wills Disputes. That’s where Shine Lawyers can help.


Shine Lawyers experienced Wills and Estate lawyers can help you with all aspects of your Will and estate, including:

Contesting a Will

When a person dies, their property or ‘estate’ should be looked after in accordance with their Will. Unfortunately, this isn’t always simple, and disputes can arise.

If you have been left out of a Will or feel your interests have not been adequately addressed, you may have legal grounds for contesting the Will. For a Will to be contested, certain criteria need to be met. Strict time limits apply, so it is crucial to seek legal advice as soon as possible. At Shine Lawyers, we will work efficiently and effectively to deliver the best possible outcomes for our clients.

We offer No Win, No Fee* in most cases when disputing a Will, as we believe that every individual has the right to legal advice, regardless of their financial situation. Legal fees are only charged in the event of a successful outcome.

*Conditions apply

Making or Updating a Will

No matter what stage of life you are in, if you have family or dependents, it is important that you have an up-to-date Will. Situations that may prompt an update to your Will include marriage or divorce, the birth of children or grandchildren, the death of a beneficiary or executor, or a significant change to your financial situations or assets.

For just $450, our experienced Wills and Estate lawyers can help you to prepare a legally valid Will that reflects your wishes, and ensures your loved ones are provided for in the future in the manner you want.

*For the preparation of a standard Will, a fixed fee of $450 will apply. For more complex arrangements, additional fees may be required. Your lawyer will explain the process and outline the fees for you prior to commencing your Will.

To find about how we can help you in preparing a Will click here.

Estate Administration

Following the passing of a loved one, a person is generally appointed in the deceased’s Will as an executor, and this person is responsible for distributing the deceased’s estate as stipulated in their Will. The executor is obliged to gather the assets of the deceased, finalise any outstanding debts and conduct other duties. If the deceased does not have a Will, someone will be required to act as an administrator and the ‘Rules of Intestacy’ apply. For someone coming to terms with the loss of a loved one, this can feel like an overwhelming responsibility. Our legal experts can assist you to navigate the Estate Administration process and distribute the estate as per your obligations as an executor.


Common Questions

A Will is an important legal document that sets out your final wishes. It includes how you would like your estate to be distributed in the event of your death.

If you die without a Will, someone will need to act as your personal representative. To do this, they’ll obtain a grant from the Court to be the executor of your estate.

If no one is willing or able to act as your executor, the Public Trustee will do so.

In either case, there are rules in place to determine how your estate will be distributed. These are known as the ‘Rules of Intestacy’.

For example in Queensland:

  • If you have a surviving spouse but no children, the entire estate will go to your spouse.
  • If you do not have a spouse, but are survived by children, the estate will be divided equally between your children.
  • If you are survived by a spouse and children, your spouse receives $150,000, the household chattels, and a share of the remaining estate. Your children then receive equal shares of the remaining estate, after the spouse deductions.
  • If you do not have a surviving spouse or children, rules apply to distribute the estate to other family members, like your parents or siblings.

If you’d like your estate to be distributed differently, you’ll need to have a legally binding Will. Generally, creating a Will may lessen the chance of future complications.

Preparing a Will can be complex, but we’ll help you cover all bases and guide you through every step of the process.

Before we meet, it’s important to think about a few critical things.

These include:

  • Who you wish to appoint as your executor
  • Who you wish to appoint as the guardian or guardians of your minor children
  • What assets and liabilities you have
  • How you wish to distribute your assets in the event of your death

It’s common for circumstances to change over time, so it’s wise to review your Will regularly.

Situations that may prompt a change to your Will include:

  • Marriage or divorce
  • The birth of children or grandchildren
  • The death of a beneficiary or executor
  • A significant change to your financial situation or assets held by you

Queensland:

In Queensland there are time limits in place within which a person can contest a Will. If you wish to contest a Will you have six (6) months from the date of death to provide your notice to the executors of the estate that you intend to bring a family provision application. Once the notice has been provided you then have a period of nine (9) months from the date of death to file your family provision application with the court.

Whilst there are some instances where you might get an extension, you will need the Court’s approval and it can be difficult to obtain. If you are thinking of contesting a Will it is best that you seek advice as soon as possible to avoid missing the time limits.

New South Wales:

In New South Wales there are time limits in place within which a person can contest a Will. If you wish to contest a Will you have twelve (12) months from the date of death to file your family provision application with the court.

Whilst there are some instances where you might get an extension, you will need the Court’s approval and it can be difficult to obtain. If you are thinking of contesting a Will it is best that you seek advice as soon as possible to avoid missing the time limits.

Estate Administration is usually undertaken by an executor. Generally, this person is appointed in the deceased’s Will.

If the executor is unable or unwilling to act, or if there is no Will, another person may administer the estate. Where no one is able or willing to act, the Public Trustee will step in.

In some circumstances, an executor may act informally. In most cases though, they will need to obtain a Grant from the Court that authorises them to act and provides legal protection.

Generally, an executor’s duties are to gather the assets of the deceased’s estate, and to pay any debts of the deceased.The executor then distributes the remaining assets to the beneficiaries of the Will.

Depending on the nature of the estate, some of the things an executor may be responsible for include:

  • Organising a funeral
  • Applying to the Court for a Grant of Probate (see below)
  • Identifying the deceased’s assets and liabilities
  • Organising proper insurance cover for the deceased’s property
  • Closing bank accounts
  • Selling or transferring the deceased’s house and other property
  • Paying any creditors
  • Liaising with beneficiaries
  • Distributing money and items to beneficiaries
  • Taking care of any taxation issues
  • Looking after assets or investments that have been left to anyone under 18 or with a legal disability
  • Representing the estate in any litigation (e.g. a family provision claim)

If you’re named as the executor of a Will, you may need to apply for a Grant of Probate. This is the court’s official recognition that the Will is legally valid, and you’re authorised to deal with the estate. It will also provide you with protection from liability.If there is no executor appointed, or the executor is not able or willing to act, another willing person may apply to the Court for a Grant of Letters of Administration. This person could be, for example, a spouse, de facto spouse, child or next-of-kin.

A Grant of Letters of Administration is essentially the same as a Grant of Probate.

An Application to the Court for Probate involves advertising the intent to apply in the QLD Law Reporter.

Shine Lawyers have offices in the following locations. As part of our service offering, home or hospital appointments can be arranged at your convenience.

Our compensation experts are in the following locations:

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