As we reflect on 2020, it highlights how unexpected life can be and how so much can be out of our control. Last year, due to bushfires in the early part of the year and COVID-19 we saw unprecedented financial, economic, and human loss across not only Australia but the world.
Category: Wills, Trusts & Estates
Our latest news and insights
A collection of case studies and articles highlighting the latest in legal news.
As we reflect on 2020, we will no doubt remember how unexpected life can be and how much is out of our control. However, there is one aspect of our lives we can control, and that is our estate planning. As we start 2021 with anticipation and possibly some trepidation, there is no better time than now to take control of your succession plan.
In the fourth of our Wills and Estates 101 series, we speak with Rigby Cooke Lawyers Wills and Estates Special Counsel, Christian Teese, to answer questions around your rights to challenge the validity of a Will.
In the third of our Wills and Estates 101 series we speak with Rigby Cooke Lawyers Wills, Trusts and Estates practice lead, Rachael Grabovic, to answer questions around Superannuation death benefits.
In the second of our Wills and Estates 101 series we speak with Marcus Schivo, a lawyer in our Wills, Trusts and Estates team, to answer common questions around Probate and what you need to do.
In the first of our introductory series which looks into the world of Wills, Trusts and Estates, we speak to Rosa Bazzanella a Senior Associate at Rigby Cooke Lawyers about some of the questions she frequently encounters in her work.
Recently we discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront the importance of having a Will and Powers of Attorney in place. It has also highlighted the challenges of arranging and executing these documents whilst in lockdown.
Court of Appeal Superannuation Case
Managing your own self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) brings with it estate planning issues. In addition to contemplating who will be entitled to receive your superannuation death benefit on your death you must also consider who will take control of your fund if you were to lose capacity or die.
Meet Rachael Grabovic, a Partner in our Wills, Trusts & Estates team. Rachael provides specialised legal advice on all aspects of wills and estates including; complex estate planning and succession law advice, wills, powers of attorney, personal trusts, personal wealth structuring, asset protection, superannuation, charitable foundations, probate, estate administration and estate litigation. Rachael is also an appointed and qualified notary public.
The COVID-19 medical emergency highlights the importance of having a Will and Powers of Attorney in place. Now is the time to ensure you – and your loved ones – are protected by guaranteeing you have valid and effective medical and financial documents prepared.
Legislative measures are currently before Parliament, which will operate to deny foreign residents the ability to access the capital gains tax (CGT) main residence exemption upon the disposal of their Australian dwelling.
The sale of a person’s main residence (ie their home) is generally exempt from capital gains tax. This exemption is ‘carried through’ to beneficiaries or executors of deceased estates who seek to dispose of the deceased’s main residence, where certain conditions are satisfied.
Rigby Cooke Lawyers’ Wills, Trusts & Estates team continues to be recognised for their outstanding work in the Wills, Trusts & Estates space in Victoria.
Victoria’s family provision legislation was substantially amended by the introduction of the Justice Legislation Amendment (Succession and Surrogacy) Act 2014. This Act had the effect of reducing the classes of claimants that may make a claim for provision from a deceased estate, and also the number of claims being filed in Victorian courts against estates.
Remaining married can leave your Will open to challenges
We have seen a number of recent deceased estates where a deceased person remained married at the time of their death, despite having separated from their spouse for a significant period of time prior to their death.
What is a Will? Almost all of us would answer that question by mentioning that it’s a written document setting out who receives our assets when we die.
However, recent court cases have taken a more expansive view as to what they are prepared to accept is a valid Will. The 2017 decision of the Supreme Court of Queensland (QSC) in Re Nichol; Nichol v Nichol & Anor  QSC 220 held that an unsent SMS message was sufficient to constitute a Will.
The new Oaths and Affirmations Act 2018 (Vic) (the Act) is set to come into operation on 1 March 2019. The Act updates the processes and requirements regarding oaths, affirmations, affidavits, statutory declarations and certification of documents.
So much of what we do in our lives is now carried out online, so it’s not very surprising that we’re now including access to our digital assets if not in our Wills, in letters of instruction to our executors. However, you may find that by including such instructions, you could actually be putting your executor at risk.
If you have recently purchased property in Australia, it is important that you protect your new asset. Most people immediately take out insurance to protect their new property from the consequences of flood, fire, damage and theft. Many people fail to protect their new asset from the consequences of incapacity or death.
The recent decision of the Supreme Court in Estate of Elzow  VSC 498 highlights the importance of validly executing a Will.
Fleur came into see one of our lawyers on behalf of her friend, Norma, who was distressed and unhappy with her accommodation arrangements at an Aged Care Facility and wanted out. This was not a situation where the resident had lost the ability to make decisions for herself, but rather it was a situation where an elderly woman with no family was being taken advantage of.
The first question many clients ask when we raise the issue of digital assets is…‘What are they?’
Digital assets can be as basic as your Facebook page and as complicated as cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. In the middle, we have many different types of assets such as an online share portfolio, subscription to online newspapers, iTunes accounts or Kindle books.
On 12 March 2018, the existing legal framework for medical treatment decision-making, the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016, changed in an attempt to provide greater autonomy to potential patients by enabling them to give advance care directives that are legally enforceable.
Rigby Cooke Lawyers is proud to welcome its Wills & Estates practice lead and accredited specialist Rachael Grabovic to the firm’s partnership
Solicitors and other professionals who act as executors of deceased estates need to be aware of recent law changes which clarify when commissions can be charged for administering an estate.
An appeal to a claim involving a love child, a substantial estate and a diamond encrusted guitar, has reached its conclusion in a decision which sets a precedent for all estates to be treated the same regardless of their size.
Following a nation-wide postal survey and many months of debate, the passage of the same-sex marriage legislation came into effect on 9 December 2017. With many same-sex couples organising their weddings, it is essential to understand how marriage can affect your estate planning.
If you have been appointed as a financial attorney or administrator, whether by the individual or by VCAT, it is essential to understand what is involved in this role. A breach of your legal duties can result in suspension of the role or an order of compensation if brought forth by an interested party.
Rigby Cooke Lawyers’ Tax & Wealth and Wills & Estates teams have been recognised by independent survey and review source Doyle’s Guide for their expertise in their respective practice areas.
Foreign purchaser additional duty and absentee owner surcharge land tax may apply to Australian discretionary trusts transacting in Victorian residential land where the discretionary trust has potential foreign beneficiaries.
From 1 January 2015, Part IV of the Administration and Probate Act 1958 was amended to change the class of individuals who could make a claim for further provision against a deceased estate.
If you had said the word ’philanthropy‘ 20 years ago, most people would have looked at you with a quizzical look. Today this word has become as common as the word ’footy’.
An area that is typically challenging in the Wills & Estates space is where a person residing overseas or interstate dies leaving assets in Victoria.
As a new financial year ticks over, financial and strategic planning is common practice for businesses, but one overlooked and yet highly important action to take is the review of your personal Will and estate planning.
The value of formalising business owners’ arrangements
Shareholders’ and unitholders’ agreements are increasingly being implemented for companies or trusts that involve two or more arms’ length parties. There are very good reasons for this trend: such agreements help to guide decision making, establish governance procedures and stipulate mechanisms to resolve deadlocks.
For super fund members there were a plethora of changes in May’s Budget announcement. Most changes apply from 1 July 2017 apart from the lifetime cap on non-concessional contributions of $500,000, which applies from Budget night (3 May 2016) and counts non-concessional contributions from 1 July 2007.
I own property in Australia, what do I need to do to protect my interests?
If you have recently purchased property in Australia, then it is imperative that you protect your new asset. The first thing most people do is take out insurance to protect against fire, theft and damage but what most people forget to do is protect their assets against government intervention during times of incapacity or on death.