Montague Law is a small practice law firm focusing on the most frequently needed legal services.
It is difficult to maintain expertise in many areas at once, and so because we do want to provide good service, you won’t find us claiming to be able to do everything.
For that reason we presently are focusing our practice on Wills and Deceased Estates. We handle other types of work (litigation, contracts) on a case by case basis.
Please note that our explanations below are relevant to South Australian law only.
Wills & estate planning
Estate planning is about making proper preparation for what happens when you die or become unable to live your life as you are used to. A Will is typically the most basic requirement for that.
With a Will, the main thing is to choose who is to receive your property and who is to carry out your Will (your executor). But there are many ways to do that and many other considerations, including how your body is to be disposed of, who will look after any minor children, whether your house, superannuation or life insurance would actually pass through your Will at all, and potential claims by dissatisfied family members. When drafting a Will we go through these with you and help you to resolve the uncertainties that might be faced by your family when the time comes for the distribution of your estate after your death.
Some people’s circumstances require far more involved Wills, particularly where there are business or investment structures in place, or people within the family that have a disability, or at risk of financial loss, and we can help with that too.
Aside from a Will and dealing with superannuation, most people should have an enduring power of attorney and advance care directive. These documents are used to empower someone else to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapable of doing so yourself. The enduring power of attorney covers most legal and financial matters and the advance care directive covers health and general care decisions.
Without these documents there is a greater risk of delay and disagreement about how your affairs are looked after.
If someone you know has already lost the capacity, but does not have an up-to-date Will, enduring power of attorney or advance care directive, then there are still legal avenues to address the omission, but they can be more involved and more restrictive.
Estate administration is the process of dealing with someone’s property after they have died.
The estate of anyone who owns significant property, including land other than jointly owned land, cannot be administered in South Australia without a grant of administration from the Supreme Court (either probate or letters of administration).
We are able to assist in drafting the required documents to obtain a grant of probate (if there is a Will) or letters of administration (if there is no Will). Sometimes, particularly if a Will has not been properly prepared, it is necessary to first obtain an order about the Will from a court
We are also experienced in helping executors and administrators deal with the property and other estate concerns once a grant of probate or letters of administration has been obtained.
In South Australia there are three main types of disputed estates:
- A claim for further provision from an estate under the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act
- Contesting a Will as being invalid (due to a lack of mental capacity, lack of formality or otherwise)
- A dispute about how an executor or administrator should be dealing with the estate
We can provide advice and assist with each of these types of claim as well as other sundry disputes that can arise in relation to estates.