Wills & Estates

Will & Estate Lawyers South Yarra

At Melville Lawyers, we understand that each family circumstance is entirely unique. That’s why we take the time to listen to your needs, advise on the best course of action and protect your family with effective estate planning. We help you navigate the complexities of trusts and both medical and financial powers of attorney, and assist in drafting, defending or contesting Wills. You can be confident that your affairs will be left n order or if ever you are unable to act.

What We Do

Wills and Probate
  • Standard and complex wills
  • Powers of Guardianship
  • Grant of probate and letters of administration
  • Reseals of foreign grants of probate
  • Pursuing and defending claims to amend or challenge will provisions
  • Wills with testamentary trusts
  • Family discretionary trusts
  • Unit trusts
  • Will testamentary trusts
  • Trust structures
  • Special needs trusts
Estate Planning
  • Asset protection & distribution
  • Property & business succession
  • Financial powers of attorney
  • Medical powers of attorney
  • Corporate powers of attorney
  • Advance Care Directive

Safeguard Your Legacy

Your legacy is important, so it shouldn’t be left to chance. Life can be unpredictable, so it’s essential to have a considered and valid Will and an effective estate plan in place.

Our legal services for Wills and estates are thorough, cost-effective and efficient, giving you complete peace of mind that your family are protected, your assets are secure, and your wishes are met when you pass on, to avoid distress to your family.

We can help: 

Call Melville Lawyers today on (03) 9095 8355 to discuss your Will and estate needs.  

Advocating for You, Always

At Melville Lawyers, our approach prioritises efficiency, quality, empathy, value for money and above all, you.

We offer:
Practical, cost-effective legal solutions to real life problems
Friendly, professional and down-to-earth service
Trusted advisors with practical advice
Swift and efficient problem-solving with an eye for pragmatism
For Will & estate lawyers that advocate for you, contact Melville Lawyers today.


FAQs for Deceased Estates

Probate is the process which the Court confirms a Will is valid and allows the executors to act per the instructions of the Will.

No, if there are multiple executors named in the Will, it is fine if only one of them applies to the Court. Leave will be reserved for the other executors.

The executor is the person appointed by the Will to administer the estate of the deceased. This includes collecting assets, paying off any liabilities and making a distribution to beneficiaries. The executors’ duties can be quite complex depending on the assets of the estate.

Letters of Administration is the processed used by the Court when the deceased has not left a Will, or the Will is not Valid.

In this case, the next of kin of the deceased can apply to the court for a Letters of Administration, with the Will annexed.

This is dependent on the assets of the estate. Some estates can be finalised in a matter of weeks or months, however other estates can take 9-18 months, or even longer. This is dependent on the turnaround times of organisations such as banks and superannuation companies.

Joint assets will automatically pass to the surviving proprietor.

You can take the funeral invoice to the deceased’s bank, alongside a certified copy of the death certificate and they will be able to make payment of the invoice. If you are unable to do so, any family or friend can pay for the funeral and provided they keep the invoice and receipt confirming payment, the estate can reimburse them in due course once assets are settled.

If any property is jointly owned, then we can arrange for an application by the survivor to transfer the property.

If any property is not held jointly, then a Grant of Probate is required to transfer the property to the names of the Executors, then it can be sold/transferred to the beneficiaries.

Depending on the assets held and in which country, there will either need to be an application for a reseal of probate overseas, or alternatively we will have to contact the overseas organisations and gather their instructions. Sometimes it is as simple as having the grant of probate notarised and sent overseas. Every country and organisation is different.

FAQs for Wills and Powers of Attorney

Making a Will can help clarify any doubts which may arise when there is no evidence of the deceased person’s wishes.

You may want to leave certain assets to friends and family members, or if you have children you may want to appoint guardians for them.

Making a Will allows you to let your friends and family know how your estate should be distributed and what you would have wanted.

If you die without a Will then your estate is distributed based on the law and goes to your relatives in the following order:

  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Grandparents
  • Aunt and Uncles
  • Cousins

If you have no living relatives, your estate is distributed to the government.

To ensure your estate is distributed per your wishes and your family is not put through further distress, it’s important to have a Will in place.

  • Minimise Confusion
    A solicitor who is specialised in Wills and Estates can ensure that your documents are prepared with no confusion in relation to your wishes and that the correct legal terminology is used.

  • Valid Documents
    There are certain protocols in place for Wills, in relation to how they are witnessed and dated, and Melville Lawyers can ensure that your Will is valid and accordingly prepared, for your peace of mind.

  • Personalised Advice
    Melville Lawyers allows you to meet one on one with a solicitor and discuss the specifics of your Will, which allows for personalised advice to be given and gives you the opportunity to ask any questions which may arise.

  • Assets outside of your Will
    Properties owned as joint proprietors, life insurance policies and superannuation are some of the assets which are not covered in a Will, Melville Lawyers can tell you how to deal with these assets so that you know all of your assets have been dealt with accordingly.

We recommend you update your Will after any significant life event, such as:

  • Marriage or Divorce
  • Having Children/Grandchildren
  • Selling or Buying property
  • Establishing or Disposing of a Company or Business
  • If your executor or beneficiaries predecease you or have a significant change in circumstance

We recommend Wills are reviewed every 5 years, to ensure they are up to date.

Your Will is valid right up until your death unless you make a new one or revoke (cancel) your current Will.

Marriage will also revoke a Will unless your Will has been made in anticipation of marriage.

The executor of your Will is the person who will be responsible for dealing with your estate after you die.

Your executor should be someone over the age of 18 who you trust with this responsibility, it can be friends, family or you can appoint a professional, such as a solicitor, in which case you will be charged a fee.

We recommend that your executor is also your main beneficiary, as it makes the process of distributing assets easier.

We can store your original Will for you in our safes.

If at any point you require copies or certified copies of your documents, we can provide them.

Powers of Attorney documents are just as essential as having a Will in place, they allow you to pass on decision making capacity to people that you trust and ensure that when unprecedented circumstances arise you are protected and prevent further costs, delays and ensure peace of mind for your friends and family.

Our Wills and Powers of Attorney package provides you with 3x Powers of Attorney documents and an Advance Care Directive:

Enduring Power of Attorney

Your Enduring Power of Attorney can make certain decisions for you about financial matters, personal matters, or both. You can limit the power to cover only specific matters, and you can choose when the powers start.

Your attorney cannot make medical treatment decisions for you unless they are also your medical treatment decision maker. 

You can appoint more than one attorney to act jointly, severally, or both.

Medical Treatment Decision Maker

Your medical treatment decision maker has legal authority to make any necessary medical treatment decisions on your behalf if you lack the capacity to make the decision yourself. Your decision maker should be aware of any Advance Care Directive you may have made.

If you are unable to make a medical treatment decision, your health practitioner will seek the consent of your medical treatment decision maker before providing treatment to you, unless it is an emergency, or you have previously consented to, or refused any treatment in an Advance Care Directive.

You can only appoint one medical treatment decision maker, but you can appoint alternates if they are unavailable. Only one decision maker can act at any given time and they will be called upon in order of appointment.

Support Person

You can appoint a support person who can access, or help you to access, health information relevant to your medical treatment. Your support person may also assist you to make, communicate and give effect to medical decisions.

Your support person does not have the power to make medical treatment decisions on your behalf, unless they are also your medical treatment decision maker.

Only one support person can be appointed at a time.

Advance Care Directive (This must be communicated to any Medical Decision Maker)

In an advance care directive, you can set out an instructional directive with legally binding instructions about future medical treatment you consent to or refuse, and an optional values directive which documents your values and preferences for your medical treatment decision maker to consider when making decisions for you.

This document must be discussed with and witnessed by your GP.

Thorough, prompt and responsive with an eye for pragmatism – that’s Melville Lawyers

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