Below are some frequently asked questions regarding Wills,
Powers of Attorney and Enduring Guardianships. Should you require
additional information please contact Focus Legal.
What happens if I die without a will?
If you die without a will your estate is considered
"intestate". Your estate will be administered in
accordance with the law regardless of any intention you may have
expressed during your lifetime.
An interested party can apply to the Supreme Court to have
letters of administration granted to them to administer your
estate. They are required to administer the estate in accordance
with the law.
Why should I use a solicitor to draft my
Entering into a will is the one transaction in this life that
cannot be reversed once it is operative. You will never find out
that the will you have made informally or through a postal kit is
ineffective. It will be your loved ones finding that out.
By having a solicitor draft your will, their qualifications and
experience can help protect your assets and ensure those assets end
up being distributed to the people you intend.
Why should I use a solicitor to draft my power of
attorney or enduring guardianship?
An enduring power of attorney and an enduring guardianship are
effective when you are no longer able to make decisions on your
own. Although you may not be able to make decisions you may be very
aware of the decisions being made on your behalf.
By having a solicitor draft the documents their qualifications
and experience can help ensure that when you no longer have
capacity to make decisions on your own you and your assets are
treated in the manner that you want.
Who makes decisions for me about my living arrangements
if I can't anymore?
Doctors and carers will look to your family to make decisions if
you have not appointed an enduring guardian. If there is conflict
between your family members they may have to apply to the
Guardianship Tribunal for orders appointing an enduring guardian to
act in your interest. Unfortunately you have no control over who
the Tribunal appoints as your guardian if you have not appointed
your own enduring guardian.
What happens if I can't make decisions on my own or
cannot physically deal with my finances and I need money to help
pay my hospital bills or to pay my mortgage?
Nobody has the right to deal with your property or finances
without your consent. Unfortunately that has the effect that if you
are incapacitated nobody is able to authorise your funds without an
order from the Guardianship Tribunal or the Supreme Court of
Unless your mortgage payments and other bills are being
automatically paid they will lapse. It will require an interested
relative or friend to make an application for a property order to
manage your affairs before anyone will be authorised to deal with
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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The WA Supreme Court has recently refused a plaintiff's application to extend the time to bring a claim against an estate.
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