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Estate Planning

Estate planning involves designing a strategy to distribute your wealth in the instance of divorce, personal injury, family disputes or death. It is often assumed that “estate planning” refers only to the preparation of a Will. Although this is an essential step in an estate plan, the overall strategy should cover much more than this.

Your estate plan should also consider the distribution of superannuation, family trust assets and jointly held assets. These areas require a more tailored approach and generally a review of specific documentation and understanding of your financial position.

Estate plans are one of the most important documents in your life. The lawyer needs to understand your entire situation, adapt to legal requirements and fit within your budget so that the estate plan is airtight.

Legislation

Succession law is governed by the following state-based legislation: Succession Act 2006 (NSW); Succession Act 1981 (QLD); Wills Act 1997 (VIC); Wills Act 1936 (SA); Wills Act 2008 (TAS); Wills Act 2000 (NT) and; Wills Act 1968 (ACT).

Dying without a Will or with an invalid Will is known as “dying intestate”. In such an event, laws are in place in each State and Territory to determine how your estate will be administered.

What Is A Estate Planning Lawyer?

An estate planning lawyer is a lawyer that helps manage and control your assets while you are alive and after you pass away, they also create wills and trusts. A lawyer who works in estate planning will have expertise in a range of trust and estate fields, these will include the creation and reviewing of wills, implementation of trusts and trust deeds as well as the preparation of powers of attorney. Besides this, estate planning lawyers will also give lifestyle advice regarding tax, family matters and general asset management advice.

Why Do I Need An Estate Planning Lawyer?

If you are looking to implicate tax measures to reduce the tax paid on your assets or are thinking about what to do with your assets after your death, it is best to employ an estate planning lawyer. They are the best at implementing trusts, wills and managing your affairs after your death. Besides this, estate planning lawyers are experts in setting up an individual as a power of attorney.

What Will An Estate Planning Lawyer Provide?

The goal of an estate planning lawyer is to ensure your estate is in an appropriate state of affairs. They will provide an affordable, appropriate and effective solution to your matter. Estate lawyers are also available to work for you for an extended period as your lifestyle changes. They will adopt a straightforward approach to your matter to ensure your assets are protected and distributed appropriately.

How Much Will An Estate Planning Lawyer Charge?

Estate planning lawyers advise on a variety of legal matters, for this reason, charges will vary dramatically. For the ongoing use of an estate planning lawyer, it is likely that you will be charged on an hourly basis. For the creation and review of a trust or will, some lawyers will tend to charge on a fixed price basis.

LawPath works with lawyers that provide estate planning advice on a fixed-priced basis. We provide our customers with a range of fixed-priced quotes from our lawyer network to ensure that you receive an estate planning lawyer at an affordable price.

Hourly rates and Court fees

The cost of a Estate Planning Lawyer will vary based on the scope of the work. Small issues likely to be addressed quickly will cost less. For matters that will need to go to the relevant Court or Tribunal, there may be additional fees involved, particularly as this work takes time. These types of matters may also involve obtaining documents and negotiating with the other party.

What can an Estate Planning Lawyer legally charge?

Legal costs can rise very quickly, especially in litigation. However, this is sometimes hard to avoid when work is being done by a lawyer on an hourly basis. Where fixed-fees are not offered by the lawyer, you should expect to be invoiced on a monthly basis with a time period within which you are required to make payment. Lawyers are required to adhere to the rules outlined in the relevant acts. For example, in NSW and Victoria, this is the Legal Profession Uniform Law 2014. Lawyers who do not comply with these rules can face disciplinary action from the law society of their State.
Lawyers are required to provide to their clients a document called a ‘costs disclosure’ if your costs will be higher than $750.00. This document will outline how costs will be calculated in relation to your case. Also be mindful that costs are divided into ‘professional costs’ and ‘disbursements’, and you will be expected to pay for both. Professional costs are the costs of the actual work done by the lawyer, whilst disbursements cover incidentals such as court filing fees, telephone calls, photocopying charges – amongst other things.

What if I don’t agree with the costs?

You have the right to request an itemised bill that will outline how much time was spent on each task in relation to your matter, and how this adds up to the fee you’re requested to pay. If you wish to dispute the cost, you can make a complaint to the The Office of the Legal Services Commissioner (OLSC) and they will investigate the matter and may allocate a costs assessor. You can also take further legal action in the Courts if you feel you have been unfairly charged.

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