Lawyers in general practise in wills and estates law at some stage, whether they are acting on behalf of their clients, advising them, representing them in court, or simply being the legal representative or testator of some personal will. But this does not mean that no specialized lawyers specialise in wills and estates law or regularly conduct probate proceedings in family courts. This article briefly outlines the different types of law associated with wills and estates. It also briefly looks at the role of a lawyer in these circumstances. Finally, it looks at what a will or an estate is and what role a will or an estate has in the broader context of legal practice.
Wills and estates are primarily concerned with planning. The aim is to ensure that future beneficiaries receive gifts or inherit assets without any problems. Common examples of assets that are commonly dealt with in wills and estates cases involve land (whether owned individually or through some entity), money, and some asset collections. It can also sometimes include counseling, art collection, design, architecture, consultancy, certain forms of professional negligence, and so on.
Wills and Estates Professionals in Darwin deal particularly with beneficiaries. The more apparent beneficiaries are the person or people who own the assets – but this is not always the case. The beneficiaries are often family members, but there may be other obvious beneficiaries, such as employers, uncles, grandparents, foster parents, and so on. There is also the probate process, which will continue after the actual passing away of the will. This process involves submitting the Will to the probate court for review, and then having it examined by a judge who will consider all the facts of the case and the applicable laws.
To make a valid Will, it must contain specific details. For example, if a man dies intestate, his will must state that his wife and children will be entitled to his surplus property — this is known as a residue. It will also state who Will’s beneficiaries are and whether they can collect inheritance taxes from the Estate.
In general, there are two types of wills and estates lawyers that a client might retain: a litigation lawyer and a non-litigation or probate lawyer. A litigation lawyer will normally be employed to handle criminal cases and is primarily concerned with proving that the act that caused the testator’s death was wrongful. Suppose the testator’s legal heirs cannot agree on the facts of the demise. In that case, the litigation lawyer will then engage in the process of mediation with other heirs, known as a post-testamentary examination. Meanwhile, a probate lawyer will be used to deal with administrative matters and oversee the distribution of the estate.
Wills and Estates Professionals in Darwin will all offer different types of advice, depending on the nature of their handling. Many of them work on either a contingency basis where the lawyer only charges if they win their client’s case or a flat fee basis, where the client only pays for the services they obtain. Many of them will also offer litigation support on a prepaid basis to help those just starting their search for an estate planning service provider. However, a good company that provides good service will offer a comprehensive range of advice, including those not mentioned here.