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Wills and Estate Planning

Wills and estate planning are pivotal to financial independence throughout life, and to protect assets and ensure the execution of financial intentions into the future.

With a proper estate plan in place, you can determine matters such as control of your personal and financial affairs if you lose capacity and who should benefit from your estate upon your death.  A proper estate plan will also take into account the financial implications of death including tax on superannuation and capital gains.

With three Accredited Specialists recognised by the Law Society of NSW, the HWL Ebsworth Wills and Estate Planning team has extensive experience in this area.  Given our extensive resources and experience, we are able to service both locally based and overseas clients.

We create custom designed estate planning solutions to suit each client’s position, objectives and preferences through the preparation of a comprehensive estate and business succession plan.  We will be there every step of the way, applying our thorough understanding of the law in relation to wills, trusts, powers of attorney, guardianship, tax and superannuation.

When a person dies, we act for executors to obtain a grant of probate or for administrators to obtain a grant on intestacy (when the deceased didn’t have a will).  If the deceased had assets overseas, we can assist with either resealing the grant or obtaining a fresh grant in Australia.  We also act in uncommon matters, such as when the executor has lost capacity or died, or when the will does not distribute the whole estate and there is a partial intestacy.

Our team has experience in advising on and resolving disputed estates (including disputes between trustees and beneficiaries regarding the conduct of trust affairs), disputes about the interpretation of wills, and acting in family provision matters where a party seeks additional benefit from an estate.  We also advise and appear in attorney and guardianship matters that have been referred to the Guardianship Division of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

  • Estate planning clients in relation to preparing documents including standard and complex testamentary trust wills, enduring powers of attorney, appointments of enduring guardian, superannuation binding death benefit nominations and statements of wishes re guardianship of minors;
  • Clients with international and jurisdictional issues in relation to the Will maker or beneficiaries being U.S citizens and the complexities arising with U.S. Estate Tax;
  • The executors by advising and assisting on complex estate administration matters relating to an estate where the terms of the will were unclear, and where there was property in multiple jurisdictions;
  • The trustee in the NSW Court of appeal case of Beck v Henley [2014] NSWCA 2013 in which we obtained judicial advice pursuant to the Trustee Act 1925. The decision set limits around the scope of a beneficiary to direct a trustee as to how it should act;
  • Diabetes Australia in the Supreme Court of NSW case Estate of Poore; Parkinson v Diabetes Australia & Anor; [2011] NSWSC 1530 to successfully defend its entitlement where the identity of the intended charity beneficiary named in the will was disputed by a similarly named charity;
  • The plaintiff in the Supreme Court of NSW case of Hoolahan v Scali [2010] NSWSC 1349 to successfully claim $7.5 million for a client who after 35 years of marriage had received negligible provision from the $15 million estate of her late husband; and
  • A beneficiary in an out of court settlement for a will claimed by the plaintiffs to have been revoked either by the deceased tearing it or by a subsequent informal will. The Attorney General was joined to represent the charity beneficiaries entitled under one of the wills of the deceased.  The complex proceedings involved:
    • forensic examination of documents and signatures; and
    • separate concurrent claims for provision by numerous family members.

We successfully negotiated a settlement of over $7 million for our client.