Wills & Estate Lawyers in Essendon

Estate Planning Lawyers in Essendon & Sunbury

If you are wanting to make plans for the future and ensure your loved ones are taken care of in the event of your death, Nicholas James Lawyers’ team of Wills & Estate Lawyers are highly qualified to ensure you are as prepared as possible.

Whilst death isn’t something we like to think about often, when you are responsible for other people, whether it’s your family or your business, it is something that needs to be considered. No matter how old a person is or the size of their estate, having a Will is vital to ensure that person’s assets are divided in accordance with their wishes.

The most efficient approach to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes is to have a Will. If you die intestate (without a Will), the law will decide how your estate is divided. This can result in an outcome that you would not have otherwise been satisfied with.

Estate Planning, on the other hand, is more than just writing a Will. Estate planning involves your Will but is more of an overarching approach that includes other crucial decisions like who will oversee your health, care and finances. An efficient Estate Plan safeguards your assets and ensures that they are distributed according to your wishes when you die.

At Nicholas James Lawyers, our expert Wills and Estate Lawyers understand the complexities around Wills and Estates. We understand the need to plan for the future and we value the peace of mind our Wills service provides for both our clients and their family members.

Our experienced Wills & Estates Lawyers can provide you with specific advice in relation to your circumstances so that you are able to make the most informed decisions regarding who you wish to leave your estate to when you pass away.

Our Wills & Estates team operates across several areas, including:

  • Wills and Estate Planning (including Powers of Attorney)
  • Testamentary Trusts
  • Part IV Claims
  • Probate Applications
  • Guardianship & Administration

We understand that each of our clients have individual needs and wishes; we pride ourselves on our personalised, supportive approach to each of our clients’ circumstances. We ensure accuracy and precision when drafting our Wills, so that our clients can be certain their wishes are reliably represented.

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Why Choose Nicholas James Lawyers?

We devote time to our clients and their matters to have a deeper understanding of their situations and legal needs. Our Wills & Estates lawyers can help you ensure nothing is left to chance and that your family is protected from unnecessary financial and legal issues.

Why Choose Nicholas James Lawyers?

As an Integrated Law Firm, we provide a broad spectrum of quality legal services delivered with a cost-effective, empathetic, and personalised approach.

We devote time to our clients and their matters to have a deeper understanding of their situations and legal needs. Our Wills & Estates lawyers can help you ensure nothing is left to chance and that your family is protected from unnecessary financial and legal issues.

For experienced Wills & Estates lawyers, call Nicholas James Lawyers today.


What should I think about before seeing a Lawyer to draft my Will?

a. A few important things to think about prior to seeing a Lawyer to draft your Will are:

  • who will be your Executor?
  • who will be my Alternate Executor (in the event your Executor dies before you or does not wish to fulfill the duties of Executor)?
  • if you have minor children, who will be their Guardian?
  • what assets do you own, either in your name or with other people?
  • who will you leave your estate to?
  • who might claim to have rights over your estate?
  • what are your funeral wishes?
  • do you want to leave money to charity?
Who do I appoint as my Attorney in my Power of Attorney?

a. Choosing who to appoint as your Attorney is the most important decision. It is recommended that you appoint a family member or trusted friend, as these people know and understand your wishes. If there is no one that you trust to appoint, you can appoint someone independently such as a trustee company for financial matters or a lawyer. However, if you do not appoint anyone, VCAT may appoint someone, such as a family member, the Public Advocate, or a trustee company.

How often should I update my Will?

a. You should review and update your Will if:

  • your family relationships change (get married, separated, divorced, remarried, children become adults)
  • your family members change (death in the family, birth of children/grandchildren, adoption, stepchildren)
  • your financial circumstances change
  • your appointed executors or guardians pass away or lose capacity
  • anything happens to a beneficiary (someone receiving under your Will), (such as injury, death, or bankruptcy).
What is a Part IV Claim?

a. A Part IV Claim is also known as a Family Provision Claim. It is an Application made to a Court for an Order requesting that greater provision be made for the Application (person applying for the Order) out of the deceased’s estate. The Application must show that the deceased had a moral obligation to make adequate provision for the Applicant in the Will and the provision made for the Application in the Will was inadequate, having regard to the Applicant’s financial needs and resources. The Application must be made within 12 months of the deceased’s date of death.

What documents do I need to get Probate?

a. When someone dies and leaves property, money and possessions (known as their estate), you need to sort out who gets what. Prior to obtaining Probate also known as a Grant of Representation, you will need to register the death and obtain a copy of the Death Certificate for each of the deceased’s assets (each bank account, credit card, mortgage, etc). The Executor named in the deceased’s Will is required to apply for Probate. If there was no Will for the deceased, the Next of Kin will need to apply for Letters of Administration.

What are the benefits of a Testamentary Trust?

a. The main benefit of a Testamentary Trust is their ability to protect assets and to reduce tax paid by Beneficiaries from income earned from the inheritance. Trusts do not have to pay tax on income that is distributed to Beneficiaries, and this means your Beneficiaries will get to enjoy more of the estate. The Trust does however have to pay tax on undistributed income.

What is Guardianship?

a. A Guardianship Order is a legal document that gives a person (called a “Guardian”) power to makes decisions on behalf of another person about personal matters. This may include decisions about accommodation, health care and access to services. In some cases, there may be more than one Guardian (“Joint Guardians”). The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) can only make an Order if you do not have decision-making capacity to make decisions about personal matters because of your disability, you are in need of a Guardian and an Order will promote your personal and social wellbeing.

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