Wills, Power of Attorney and Advance Care Directives

At Pana Legal we work hard to ensure that we secure yours and your family’s financial future, through professional legal advice, estate planning and ongoing support.

We can help

Having a succession plan ensures that you have peace of mind about the protection of your assets and the financial security of your family and loved ones, particularly in the event of an expected health issue or bereavement.

We help our clients to safeguard their futures through our expert assistance in many areas such as:

  • Wills
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Advance Care Directives
  • Trusts
  • Superannuation
  • Estate Planning

By assisting you to draft your will we can help you to ensure that your testamentary intentions are carried out and that your assets pass on to your chosen beneficiaries. Similarly, we can help you to ensure the proper management of your personal affairs with a Power of Attorney and Advance Care Directive.

Our clients often come to us with concerns that their situation is too complex due to a wide range of circumstances including ex-spouses, blended families, step-children, foreign assets, businesses and trusts. We have years of experience in drafting complex Wills, so you need not worry –  we can help.

Appointing a Power of Attorney

Appointing a Power of Attorney is a very important decision and requires the help of a legal expert. It is also vital that you discuss your wishes with your family to avoid unnecessary conflict and tensions.

In South Australia there are two important documents you should have, other than your Will:

  • An Enduring Power of Attorney is used to appoint someone to make legal and financial decisions for you, including with respect to property, in the event that you become incapable of making those decisions yourself.
  • An Advance Care Directive is used to appoint someone to make decisions regarding medical treatment, healthcare, living arrangements and lifestyle, if you become incapable of making those decisions yourself

Advance Care Directive

An Advance Care Directive is a living will which outlines your preferences for medical treatment. It only applies if you become incapable of making such decisions yourself, for example where you may suffer a severe mental incapacity or are in the final stages of a terminal illness or in a coma. These documents authorise your substitute decision maker to refuse medical treatment and/or withdraw life support systems. They do not authorise the refusal of food, water, pain relief or palliative care.

Our team will factor in your wishes and ensure your future decisions are clearly laid out in your Advance Care Directive, including providing you with the right legal advice should you move interstate and need to update it, or should you wish to appoint a substitute decision maker. 


Have you been chosen to be the Executor of a Will?

If you do assume the role of executor this means that you have been given responsibility to manage the deceased’s estate according to the terms they have outlined in their Will such as to gather and distribute their assets and to pay out any residual debts owed by the deceased, under the various laws and rules that govern estate administration in Australia. You will also be responsible for prosecuting and/or defending any claims by or against the deceased estate.

Executors Duties

An executor’s duties may include responsibilities such as:

  • Organising the funeral, notices for the paper, flowers, burial or cremation and interment
  • Locating the Will
  • Locating and contacting the beneficiaries
  • Obtaining a copy of the Death Certificate
  • Making sure any property and assets are safe and secure
  • Determining the value of assets
  • Applying for Probate
  • Paying insurance policies, debts and taxes
  • Collecting monies belonging to the deceased from financial institutions and insurance companies
  • Collecting debts owed to the deceased
  • Lodging tax returns for the deceased and for the estate
  • Selling properties and assets
  • Reporting to beneficiaries
  • Distributing the proceeds of the estate to beneficiaries
  • Setting up trusts
  • Defending claims against the estate

Being an Executor can be overwhelming, particularly when you are grieving, but rest assured we can guide you through.

Intestacy and Administration

In situations where there is no will, this is referred to as intestacy and the law will determine how assets will be shared out only after debts have been paid.

If your loved one has died without a will or a will that is deemed invalid, you may need to apply for Letters of Administration from the Supreme Court, which may allow you to administer the estate in intestacy.

We will help and advise you through the complexities of such cases such as your rights as a spouse, de facto partner, child of the deceased or other eligible beneficiary of the estate.

At Pana Legal, we guide you through all stages of the administration process to ensure that all obligations have been satisfied and you understand and feel comfortable with all steps taken by our team.

Estate Disputes and Litigation

Challenging a Will may seem like a daunting task but with our knowledge and expertise you will have nothing to worry about.

If you feel you have been unfairly left out of a will, unjustly treated in terms of inheritance or there was a promise that was subsequently reneged, you may be able to contest a will.

As every circumstance varies considerably, we advise you get in touch with our team as early as possible. Time must be factored in as all claims need to be made within 6 months of the date of the grant of probate or letters of administration.  

Our first step will be to assess your claim to determine your eligibility and the likelihood of success. If we feel there is merit in continuing, we will contact the executors on your behalf. If no resolution can be made, we will prepare documents to initiate court proceedings.

At Pana Legal we will do everything we can to work through your claim and get you what you are entitled to. Deceased estate disputes can be complex, but our team are highly skilled and experienced in wills and estate disputes. 


Estate Planning

Have you considered how your assets including real estate, shares and money are to be dealt with after your death?

Have you ensured that your wishes are contained in a professionally prepared Will?

Estate planning goes beyond drafting a will and includes:

  • The assessment of likely taxation implications of both holding and disposing of assets
  • Advice regarding the possibility of claims against the estate by third parties
  • The protection of assets
  • Structuring your affairs to minimise taxation and maximise social security benefits to which you may be entitled.

Estate planning ensures that your family have a clear directive on the distribution of your estate after you have passed. At Pana Legal we will determine whether your assets are jointly owned, as sometimes not all assets form part of your estate and will pass on directly to your spouse or other co-owner, irrespective of your will. We look at crucial aspects such as your superannuation, any changes to the family asset pool and discretionary trusts.

The documents that form part of an estate plan are a Will, Enduring Power of Attorney, and an Advance Care Directive. We can assist you in formalising your estate plan so you can feel rest assured that your personal affairs will be managed, and your assets will be distributed as you wish.

Our compassionate approach to these matters assures our clients that we will deal with their personal tragedy and grief in a dignified and considerate manner.