Wills and Estates

Last Will and Testament

A Last Will and Testament more commonly referred to as a “Will”, is an important legal document which only comes into effect after your death.

There is no legal requirement for individuals to make a Will, however it is recommended. A Will documents your wishes as to how your ‘Estate’ is to be divided. Your Estate is everything that you owned and owed at the date of your death. Should you not document your wishes then your Estate will be distributed according to the State laws.

Your Will outlines who you would like to inherit your Estate after you die, it also sets out who is to be responsible for carrying out what your Will states. Your Will can also set out any wishes you may have in relation to funeral arrangements, organ donation and guardianship of any minor children.

If you do not own real estate you may think you have no need to make a Will. However, there may be entitlements that are payable to you after your death. You may further wish to gift other items that hold sentimental but not monetary value.

It is highly recommended that your Will be updated after important milestones such as marriages, divorces, birth of children or grandchildren or deaths of loved ones.

Our solicitors charge a fixed price for the drafting of a simple Will. Once drafted, we can also hold your Will in a secure place for no additional fee.

Medical Treatment Decision Maker and Power of Attorney

A Will only comes into effect after your death, however a Power of Attorney and Medical Treatment Decision Maker enables a person to appoint one or more persons to manage your affairs while you are living.

By appointing a Power of Attorney you are authorising a third party, an Attorney, to make decisions on your behalf in relation to financial matters such as accessing bank accounts for the payment of expenses and /or personal matters such as determining your place of living.

The appointment can relate to a specific event and can be limited in application such as managing your affairs whilst you travel overseas (a General Power of Attorney), or can be used more broadly for all matters in the event you are incapable of making your own decisions (an Enduring Power of Attorney).

By appointing a Medical Treatment Decision Maker you are giving the person appointed the authority to make certain medical decisions in circumstances where you are unable to do so.

Our solicitors charge a fixed price for drafting Powers of Attorney and Medical Treatment Decision Maker documents. Once drafted, we can also hold your original documents in a secure place for no additional fee.

Guardianship and Administration

Where a person does not have capacity, or has lost capacity, for example by reason of a medical condition, such as dementia, intellectual disability, mental illness or an acquired brain injury, they cannot appoint an Attorney or Medical Treatment Decision Maker. In these circumstances there may be a need for someone to obtain legal authority on behalf of another.

In these circumstances the person who wishes to manage that person’s personal and financial affairs must seek a Guardianship or Administration Order from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

A ‘Guardian’ is a person who deals with the personal decisions of the person, where as an ‘Administrator’ is to take care of the financial decisions of the person.

Our solicitors can assist with applying to VCAT for orders for the appointment of guardians and administrators of people who lack decision making ability or for a review of an existing order.