Take care of your loved ones in the way you want

Thinking about where our assets should go when we are no longer around may be uncomfortable, but it is important to secure and protect your assets to make sure your family is taken care of in the event of your incapacity or death. Having a well thought out will protects your wishes and your loved ones and can make the process of managing your estate a lot easier when the time comes.

We will answer for you:

  • What happens to my assets if I die without a will?
  • What happens if I don’t have an estate plan?
  • How do I minimise taxes on my estate?

You will receive:

  • Clear advice from an industry expert with legal and commercial experience
  • An understanding of how best to protect your assets and plan for when you’re no longer around

Meet Jessica Rea

For reliable guidance in wills and estates, trust Jessica to be your advocate every step of the way.

Jessica’s background in commercial law, including extensive work on large corporate transactions and trust establishment, provides her with a unique perspective on wealth and succession planning. She’s equipped to handle the complexities of any scenario thrown her way, ensuring comprehensive solutions tailored to your needs.

Passionate about estate and trusts law, Jessica is committed to helping clients achieve peace of mind and security for their future. She understands that navigating the legal aspects of estate administration or disputes can be daunting, especially during challenging times like the loss of a family member. Jessica strives to make the process as simple and pain-free as possible for her clients.

With Jessica on your side, you can rest assured that she’ll anticipate issues before they arise, staying one step ahead to ensure a smooth journey through the legalities of estate matters.

Recognised nationally as a finalist in the 2024 Lawyers Weekly 30 Under 30 Awards, Jessica’s dedication and expertise are unmatched. Currently pursuing her Masters in Applied Law with a focus on Wills and Estates, she’s continuously expanding her knowledge to better serve her clients.

Ready to take the first step? Contact Jessica today on (02) 4941 8970 for a free no-obligation chat about your case.

Whitelaw McDonald Lawyers are here to win for our community. We know it can sometimes be uncomfortable to think about where our assets should go when we are no longer around, but we will help protect you and your assets and put your mind at ease.

We have the specialist expertise to help you in areas such as:

  • Communicating your wishes regarding your assets for now and upon your death
  • Protecting your family
  • Reducing your taxes
  • Protecting your business

Get in contact with us

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What happens if I don’t have a will?

    This is a big concern for many. If you die without a will, the state will distribute your assets according to its laws, which may not align with your wishes. If you die without a will in New South Wales, your estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy as set out in the Succession Act (NSW). This means the law dictates who inherits your assets, which can be quite different from what you might have intended. Here’s a breakdown of what happens:

    The estate is administered: Someone close to you, often a relative, will need to apply to the Supreme Court for a grant of administration. This authorises them to act as the administrator and distribute the assets according to the intestacy rules.

    Distribution of assets: The order of inheritance is:

    1. Spouse: If you were married, your spouse inherits the entire estate after debts are paid.
    2. Children: If you have children but no spouse, your children inherit the entire estate divided equally.
    3. Parents and siblings: If you have no spouse or children, your parents inherit everything if they are alive. If not, your siblings will inherit, divided equally.
    4. Other relatives: If you have no spouse, children, or parents living, other relatives like grandparents, uncles, aunts, or cousins may inherit according to a set order.
    5. The State: If no eligible relatives are found, the entire estate goes to the State government.

    For a free no-obligation chat about your unique circumstances, call Jessica today on (02) 4941 8970, or contact us.

    Who should I choose as my executor?

    Choosing an executor for your will is an important decision. This person will be responsible for carrying out your wishes after you pass away, so it is crucial to select someone trustworthy, reliable, and capable. Here are some key factors to consider:

    • Trustworthiness and honesty: This is paramount. You need someone who will faithfully execute your wishes as outlined in your will.
    • Organisational skills: The executor will need to handle various tasks like gathering assets, paying debts, and distributing inheritances. Choose someone who is organised and detail-oriented.
    • Availability and willingness: The executor’s role requires time and effort. Ensure the person you choose is available and willing to take on this responsibility.
    • Understanding of your estate: It is ideal if the executor has some understanding of your financial situation and assets.
    • Age and health: Consider the age and health of the person. You want someone who is likely to be around to fulfill their duties.

    Here are some potential candidates to consider:

    • Spouse or partner: A common choice, assuming they meet the criteria above.
    • Adult child: A responsible and organised child could be a good option.
    • Close friend or relative: A trustworthy friend or relative can be a suitable choice.
    • Professional executor: Lawyers, accountants, or trust companies can be appointed for a fee, which can be helpful for complex estates.

    There is no single ‘right’ answer for who to choose as your executor. The most important thing is to select someone you trust completely and who possesses the necessary skills and capabilities to handle the role effectively. For expert on this and any other queries around estates and planning, call Jessica, our experienced estate planning lawyer, today at Whitelaw McDonald Lawyers on (02) 4941 8970, and have a free no-obligation chat.

    How can I minimise taxes on my estate?

    Minimising taxes on your estate is a crucial aspect of a well-rounded estate plan. Strategies like maximising superannuation contributions, utilising lifetime gifts to loved ones, and establishing testamentary trusts can all help reduce your estate’s taxable value. Exploring spousal lifetime transfers can also be beneficial for married couples. Remember, tax laws can be complex and change over time. To make sure you’re utilising the most effective strategies for your unique situation, call Jessica, our experienced estate planning lawyer, today at Whitelaw McDonald Lawyers on (02) 4941 8970, and have a free no-obligation chat.

    Do I need a lawyer for estate planning?

    While you can create a will without a solicitor, involving one in your estate planning process offers significant advantages:

    • Ensuring legal validity: Estate planning laws can be intricate and vary depending on your location. A solicitor ensures your plan is legally sound and avoids potential challenges or misinterpretations that could arise later.
    • Minimising tax liabilities: Solicitors can advise on strategies to minimise the inheritance tax burden on your estate, saving your loved ones money in the long run.
    • Addressing complexities: If your situation involves a business, blended family, significant assets, or specific wishes, a solicitor can craft a plan that meets your unique needs and avoids complications. This could include establishing trusts or other legal structures.
    • Preventing Disputes: A well-drafted will with clear instructions reduces the risk of confusion or conflict among beneficiaries. This promotes family harmony during a difficult time by ensuring everyone understands your wishes.
    • Peace of Mind: Knowing your estate is handled by a professional allows you peace of mind and the confidence that your wishes will be carried out correctly.

    The team at Whitelaw McDonald Lawyers has extensive experience in estate planning and successfully guided countless clients through the process. We know every situation is unique, and we will tailor it to your situation, keeping you informed through the entire process, so you can focus on what matters most – your loved ones and your future. Get in touch with Jessica today at Whitelaw McDonald Lawyers on (02) 4941 8970 for a free no-obligation chat, or get in touch.

    How often should I update my estate plan?

    Life circumstances change, so it’s important to review and update your estate plan periodically. People often wonder how often this should be done.

    We generally recommend to review and update your estate plan at least once a year. Here are some reasons why:

    • Life changes: Major life events like marriage, divorce, birth of children, or the death of a beneficiary can significantly impact your wishes.
    • Changes in assets: If you acquire or dispose of significant assets like property or investments, your plan needs to reflect your updated financial picture.
    • Legal changes: Laws and regulations around estate planning can evolve over time, so ensuring your plan remains compliant is crucial.

    Our highly experienced team at Whitelaw McDonald Lawyers will help you in reviewing your existing estate plan and making any necessary updates. We will advise you on the best course of action based on your specific circumstances. Get in touch with Jessica today at Whitelaw McDonald Lawyers on (02) 4941 8970 for a free no-obligation chat, or get in touch.

    How can we help?

    Whitelaw McDonald Lawyers has a dedicated, professional and experienced team of solicitors and support staff.