Succession, wills & estates

Why should you use a specialist to prepare your Will?

Do you just need a simple will? Your affairs are simple, so why not just go to the lawyer who gives you the cheapest quote? Or even do-it-yourself, or buy a will on-line?

There is nothing simple about the law that applies to your Will, or the administration of your assets when you die.  Will instructions that seem simple, can raise issue that may cause major problems for your intended beneficiaries.  Many years of experience and a comprehensive understanding of succession law is required, to recognise all of the issues that may cause a problem. Will the lawyer who gives the cheapest quote, or the general practitioner who does any legal work that comes through the door, have that experience or knowledge?  Will they know what tweaks are required for your “simple will”, to ensure that things don’t go horribly wrong for your family?

Along with business law, succession law is what we do.  Like most succession law specialists, we don’t dabble in family law, personal injuries or crime.  With over 25 years experience in succession planning and estate litigation, we have seen what goes wrong.  Succession specialists can help you avoid the mistakes that cause litigation and destroy families. We read the publications and go to the conferences that focus on succession law, to keep up-to-date and learn more about how to avoid problems and litigation over your estate.

When you come to see us for a “simple will”, you will get the benefit of that experience for a price similar to, or lower than that charged by other legal firms in Townsville.  When we identify an issue of concern, we can usually provide a simple solution at no additional cost.

Succession law services we provide

Conrad Law provides a full range of succession law services including:

  • the easyLaw eWill
  • preparation of Wills, from basic Wills for people with simple affairs, to Wills for high net worth individuals that include very sophisticated purpose drafted testamentary trust provisions;
  • estate and succession planning;
  • second opinions and review of existing Wills;
  • general powers of attorney, enduring powers of attorney and advanced health directives;
  • superannuation law;
  • business and agri-business succession planning;
  • business buy-sell arrangements including insurance funded buy-sell agreements;
  • design of special-purpose trusts including testamentary discretionary trusts, disability trusts, lineal descendant trusts, superannuation proceeds trusts and insurance proceeds trusts;
  • estate disputes, dispute resolution and estate litigation; and
  • disputes over decisions to pay out superannuation on death.

Whether we are helping you to put very simple affairs in order, or advising on extremely complex issues, we always ensure that we get a full understanding of your circumstances and give you informed options that suit your budget.

Our second opinion and Will review service

You may have had a Will prepared for you that does not seem not quite right.  You may not be sure whether your existing Will remains appropriate.  You will not want to incur the full cost of a new Will, when your existing Will could be perfectly adequate.

We can review your current Will, consider your circumstances and advise whether your current Will is appropriate.  This will cost half our usual charge to prepare a basic Will. If you decide that your existing Will needs to change, you only pay our standard fee for your new Will.

Please call us if you would like a quote for the cost to review your Will.

What is the difference between succession planning and estate planning?

You know what a Will is.  Your "estate" is all of your assets when you die. Estate planning is obviously about sorting out what happens to your assets when you die.  But what is "succession planning"?

Succession planning is about sorting out what happens to your property, investments and business, when circumstances in your life change.  It is not just about death. Mostly, it is about planning for the transfer of substantial assets or a business, when the appropriate time comes. Succession planning aims to look after you, as well as your family or other beneficiaries named in your Will.

If we are talking about a business or a rural property, it will usually be more appropriate for control to pass whilst you are still alive.  How does that occur whilst ensuring your security in retirement? What happens if a change of control needs to happen sooner than expected, due to an accident or ill-health? Planning for these possibilities, is the key to making a good succession plan.

Conrad Law specialises in succession planning.  We do estate planning is part of that succession planning.  The difference is that we are interested in making sure the plan works for you, as well as the beneficiaries under your Will!

Elder Law

"Elder Law" is a bit of a buzz term that has been thrown around in recent years in lawyer marketing.  For those few lawyers who treat Elder Law as more than marketing buzz, it means taking the time to understand the numerous legal issues relevant to people in their later retirement years (and not just those older clients who are "high net worth").  There are a broad range of quite specilised legal issues that affect people as they age and become increasingly vulnerable.  For example, Elder Law practitioners should understand the relevant aspects of: pension laws; tax law; superannuation; estate law; mental health law; laws relating to retirement home contracts; specialised financial products such as reverse mortgages and fundamental human rights.  Pension rules about gifting, granny flat arrangements and Special Disability Trusts are not well known or understood, but can make a huge difference to those affected or eligible.

This is not an area of law where there is a lot of money to be made, so few lawyers see value in specialising in Elder Law beyond preparing a will or looking after a deceased estate.  Conrad Law does value the service we can provide to our community's seniors, by making available our extensive exprience and understanding of Elder Law.

We offer advice on a wide range of Elder Law issues, for a modest fixed fee.  Or you can get access to our Elder Law knowledge at no extra cost, when you see us about your Will or succession planning.