Road winding around coastline with salt bushes on either side and a view out to sea. Wills and estates lawyers in geelong

Wills & estates lawyers

Will drafting and estate planning lawyers in Geelong

Let's face it, most of us don't want to think about dying. But there are advantages to considering what will happen to your assets after you pass away - both for you and your loved ones.

Estate planning can help you exercise control over what happens to your estate after you pass away. It can also give you an excellent path for managing and accumulating assets in your lifetime. Most importantly, good estate planning may save your loved ones from facing complex legal issues.

In short, it's smart. Whether you're 18 or 80, whether you have few belongings or intricate business arrangements, seeking the help of specialist wills and estate lawyers is an excellent move that will have positive long-term benefits.


What is estate planning?

Estate planning is the process of planning for the future. It's often referred to as end-of-life arrangements.

Estate planning may be simple or complex. It's often an effective way to ensure that your estate is managed and divided according to your wishes. It may also make allowances for your retirement income and consider the income-earning abilities and assets of younger beneficiaries. Depending on your circumstances, it may involve:

  • Assessment of assets
  • Assessment of likely taxation
  • Protection of your assets
  • Analysing the risk of a legal claim against your estate
  • Consideration of your business arrangements
  • Identifying who will manage your affairs and your estate
  • Specific requests for medical care, aged care and end-of-life

We recommend checking your estate plan every three years or when your circumstances change, for example:

  • When you get married
  • When you divorce or separate
  • Buying or selling a business or setting up a trust
  • Changes to your superannuation or insurance policies
  • Changes to your taxation levels

Estate planning is the process of planning for the future. It's often referred to as end-of-life arrangements.

What is a will?

A will is a legal document that sets out a person's wishes about what happens to their property after their death.

The will-maker is known as the testator.

In Victoria, there are specific laws governing how wills are created; for example:

  • The will must be in writing and correctly signed, dated, and witnessed
  • The testator must be eligible to make a will
  • The testator can't be forced to make the will

An invalid will means that it has no legal effect, and the testator's estate may not be distributed in the way they had planned. It also means that the law may treat the person as having no will. A different set of laws will apply to this situation, known as intestacy laws.

Other key features of valid wills are:

  • The person who makes the will is known as the testator
  • The testator's property (including any debts) is known as the estate
  • The people who inherit according to the terms of the will are known as beneficiaries
  • A valid will must appoint an executor, who is the person responsible for locating the estate's assets, paying debts, applying for probate, and carrying out your wishes under the will. This process is often known as winding up the estate

Probate is the legal process that proves the will is valid. When probate is granted, the Court gives the executor a certificate as proof that they are allowed to wind up and distribute your estate.

Do I need a will?

If you're aged 18 years or over, it's a good idea to have a will, even if you don't own many assets. Your will doesn't always need to be changed as you acquire more assets, unless you want to give specific items to particular people. However, you may need a new will if your circumstances change.

Having a valid will is the best way of ensuring your assets are distributed according to your wishes after you pass away.

A will is a legal document that sets out a person's wishes about what happens to their property after their death.

Our wills and estate planning services

We offer comprehensive and specialised wills and estate planning services for residents of Greater Geelong, the Barwon region, Bellarine, Surf Coast and surrounding areas. Our services include:

  • Crafting and implementing estate plans
  • Creating wills to minimise tax and maximise inheritance
  • Advising how to choose executors and guardians
  • Reducing the risk of legal action against an estate
  • Advising on estate tax, including capital gains tax
  • Considering other financial issues
  • Setting up family trusts and testamentary trusts
  • Consideration of estate and probate laws
  • Storing wills and other important documents

Read our brochures

for more information about our estate planning services

Frequently asked questions about estate planning

Specialist advice for your future

Our wills and estate planning lawyers can tailor comprehensive plans and effective wills for your peace of mind.