We offer competitive rates on advising, drafting and executing Wills. We can also assist with advice in relation to trusts and power of attorney matters.
As a client of Petherick Cottrell, you will be benefited by our wealth of knowledge and professional experience as we protect and actively advance your interests in all areas of law.
Why choose Petherick Cottrell as your lawyer?
The team at Petherick Cottrell is made up of lawyers who have significant experience in top tier law firms meaning we can provide top level, quality advice at local, competitive prices;
All of our lawyers are based in Mandurah, meaning you do not need to go to Perth (or pay Perth-level fees) for quality legal advice;
Our experience means that no matter is too hard or complex;
Our lawyers are friendly, approachable and professional.
There is no one answer about how to do your Will. It all depends on your assets, your circumstances and who your beneficiaries will be. You need to make a will that makes your wishes clear, that avoids confusion and conflict amongst your loved ones, and that is legally valid and binding. Doing this will protect your family and friends from costly and stressful legal disputes.
At Petherick Cottrell Lawyers we will assist you in making some big decisions, such as who will be your Executors, who might be your beneficiaries and what effect will their inheritance have on their circumstances? In some cases a testamentary trust can sidestep potential taxation problems, so it’s important that you get specific advice about your situation.
You should certainly review your Will after any major events, such as marriage, divorce, property purchase or sale, death of a beneficiary or if your assets change significantly. We also recommend that you take a look at your Will every couple of years just to make sure that it is still the best instrument for you and for your family.
We know the potential pitfalls, and will ask you all the right questions to make sure that you have considered every possibility. We can advise you as to whether you would be best with a Will or a Testamentary Trust. We can design your Will in such a way to help protect your family from expensive estate litigation after your death and we can safely store your Will in our secure vault.
Wills & Estate Planning
Nobody likes to think about it too much, but inevitably one day you will have to leave your business or farm, whether by selling up, retiring or leaving for health reasons. It is very important to have a succession plan in place that makes the transition easy not only for yourself but also for your family or employees and minimises the chances of the business or farm having to be sold up when you leave.
Estate planning goes beyond drafting a will – it includes:
The assessment of assets
The assessment of likely taxation
Advice regarding the possibility of claims against the estate by third parties
The protection of assets
Estate planning is an active process of re-evaluating the estate when circumstances in life change, such as:
Newly married couples or those divorcing
A change to the family’s asset pool
A change in working conditions such as the buying or selling of a business
Changes to superannuation, insurance policies or taxation levels
The establishment of discretionary trusts
A successful plan is made involving all family members as it will take into account not only provisions for your retirement income but also the plans, aptitudes and existing assets of younger generations.
Executors & Probate
Have you been chosen by a family member or friend to be the Executor of their Will? This means that you have been given responsibility to manage their estate according to the terms they’ve outlined in their Will and to protect their assets under the various laws and rules that govern estate administration in Australia.
Estates vary in complexity and Executor’s duties can be complicated, so it may be a good idea to get advice from a lawyer. The cost of legal advice is usually covered by the estate, not the Executors.
Our team can help you understand your duties and responsibilities such as funeral organisation, locating the Will, obtaining a copy of the Death Certificate, management and valuation of property and assets, probate, costs (insurance, debts, and taxes), collecting debts, trust funds, reporting to beneficiaries, and assets distribution.
Being an Executor can be overwhelming, particularly when you are grieving, but rest assured we can guide you through this time, even if there is no Will.
Powers of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a legal document whereby one person grants another person the authority to make legal and financial decisions on their behalf. A Power of Attorney can be used in several ways – from having another take care of your affairs whilst travelling to times of extended illness.
An Enduring Power of Attorney takes this a step further, whereby the person nominated to manage the affairs (also called the “Donee”) may continue to manage the affairs once the person giving the power (also called the “Donor”) is found to have diminished mental capacity due to injury or illness. This arrangement can remain in place as long as the donor is still alive.
Powers of Attorney can be prepared in two ways – to come into effect immediately and to continue once the donor suffers a loss of capacity; or to come into effect at a future time (such as the onset of mental incapacity).
In order to sign a Power of Attorney, the donor must be capable of understanding the nature of the document they are signing and its effect. It is therefore important in situations where a Power of Attorney must be appointed that it is done so in a timely manner.
An Appointment of Enduring Guardians is a legal document whereby you grant the right to make decisions in regard to your health and living arrangements to another person. This comes into effect only when you are deemed to have lost the ability to make decisions for yourself and gives your family the right to speak to health professionals about your medical situation and also to make the decisions necessary to carry out your wishes in regard to medical treatment options.
Contesting a Will
If you’ve been left out of a Will, you believe the Will in invalid, or have been unfairly treated in terms of the amount of your inheritance you may be able to make a claim against the estate (generally within 6 months). At every stage of contesting or challenging a Will it’s important to have sound, experienced legal advice. We have the skills to negotiate on your behalf to avoid costly court fees, but if it comes down to court we also have the skills to fight on your behalf.
It varies from state to state, but some of the people who may be entitled to claim include people who had a relationship with the deceased such as a spouse, former spouse or defacto partner, family members, carer, or someone who was financially dependent on the deceased.
We will assess your claim and aim to understand your particular circumstances. If it’s worth continuing we will contact the executors and notify them of your claim. We will then gather evidence, prepare documents and make an offer to the executors. Many claims are settled through negotiation at this stage.
If the matter isn’t resolved then we can lodge documents with the court to initiate proceedings. We can still negotiate and in some cases mediation will be required by the court. Failing all else, we will proceed to a court hearing wherein the evidence will be presented and the judge will make a decision.