Trust and Estate Administration 

Trust and Estate Administration is the area of law that helps you plan for your future and manage your affairs during your lifetime.

In Australia, as in most developed countries, our population is ageing as life expectancy increases. This makes it all the more important to take the time to consider your plans for later life. Planning for the future allows you to prepare for the expected and the unexpected, should you lose capacity or die. Although it may seem a long way off, planning while you are younger can make it easier to make defensible decisions and have important conversations with your family about your wishes.
These decisions should include how you’d like to be cared for and how that can be paid for. Planning ahead can help minimise distress for friends and family in the event of unfortunate circumstances.

Estate administration planning for later life

How do I plan for later life?

At Autonomy First Lawyers, we can talk to you about the things you can do now to help you and your family down the track.

These can include setting up legal tools now so that someone you trust can make important decisions for you if you are no longer able to do so.

These include:

  • An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives a person, or trustee organisation the legal authority to act for you to manage your assets and make financial and legal decisions on your behalf.
  • A Power of Enduring Guardianship gives the person, or trustee organisation that you appoint the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf that are about your lifestyle, health and welfare.
  • A Superannuation Death Benefit nomination
  • A letter of wishes or similar document which can explain your expectations about how you want your representatives, supporters and family to help support you as you age.

Planning ahead for later life will give you peace of mind and help ensure that you and your loved ones are protected in unfortunate circumstances.

Autonomy First Lawyers are specialists in these areas of the law. What do you need to put in place to help protect your future in terms of finances and health and choose who makes decisions on your behalf if you are no longer able to do so?
We will listen to your circumstances and thoughts about the future and tell you the best steps to take to ensure that your future is protected.

It’s never too early to plan ahead. Download our free guides to understand Enduring Power of Attorney and Power of Enduring Guardianship and contact us to start the conversation.

Planning for later life


A trust is a mechanism by which someone is appointed as a trustee and given the responsibility to look after assets on behalf of someone else. We use trusts to structure the ownership and management of personal and family capital over the medium to long term.

Trusts can protect assets. A trust is a legally binding arrangement whereby you choose trustees to look after the assets and are useful in many different situations, such as:

  • After a personal injury
  • If you have young children
  • If you have loved one with a learning disability
  • Benefitting successive generations
  • Ensuring your assets stay within your family
A trust being used to structure the ownership and management of personal and family capital over the medium to long term.

Working with older and vulnerable clients

As we live longer, instances of degenerative diseases and loss of mental capacity are on the increase. We all hope this will not happen to us or our loved ones, but if it does, we need to be well prepared.

We are specialists in services to and support people with dementia, cognitive disability and other degenerative diseases, as well as people who may have problems with hearing, sight, mobility and decision making capacity. Our team is trained to spot signs of neglect and abuse and will ensure that clients are not being pressured or coerced into making decisions that may not be in their best interests or follow their will and preference.

We have an in-depth understanding of older clients, the issues that are important to them, and the support and advice they need. There are several elements your senior loved ones can put in place which will help you to support them in times of crisis.

If they still have the capacity to make decisions, they can make an Enduring Power of Attorney or Power of Enduring Guardianship. These documents will allow them to choose who they would like to make decisions on their behalf if they are no longer able to do so.

If their mental capacity is in question, they still may be able to make an LPA. Our Capacity & Capability Service can assess, advise and support.

working with older clients

Estate and succession planning

Although nobody likes to think about it, one day it is inevitable that we leave everything behind. A good Estate Plan gives you the peace of mind of knowing the future interests of your loved ones and business partners are protected.

  • An Estate Plan is essentially a plan about managing a person’s Estate (property and assets) during their life and after their death.
  • A Succession Plan is an Estate plan, which includes plans for succession of management or ownership of our Estate (our ‘successors’ are those who ‘succeed’ to our Estate).
  • Both types of Plan can be an extension of or complement a business plan.

Our core expertise is in helping people plan and manage their affairs, especially across generations and across jurisdictions. Our aim is to introduce right thinking at the planning stage and prevent conflict down the track by doing the right thing in the first place.

Estate and succession planning meeting

Business succession planning

A business succession plan is a strategy for how you exit your business and should be planned well in advance (ideally at start-up) in case the unexpected happens, such as sudden death, illness or disability. Each business has a different set of circumstances to be taken into account, such as type of business, any existing business structures, number of proprietors, market factors, skills and personalities of owners, staff and family members.

The Succession Plan should include:

  • when you plan to exit the business
  • who the business is being sold to or who will take it over, either an external third party or sale of equity to existing proprietors
  • whether you choose to sell the whole business or sell down gradually
  • any tax and legal implications
  • family business transition to next generation
  • dealing with business/equity share of a deceased proprietor.

Learn more about our Business Law expertise.

Business succession planning

Can we help you resolve a Trust and Estate Administration matter? Contact us to learn more.

Our Trust and Estate Administration Specialists

Michael Perkins Principal Lawyer

Michael Perkins

Lawyer, author, educator

Michael Perkins has over 30 years of expertise in trusts, estates and private practice and he has helped families across generations to preserve and manage their wealth, family and community connections. 

Michael is a mentor and general counsel to businesses and families. He is the co-author of the book “Estate Planning: A Practical Guide for Estate and Financial Services Professionals”, published by LexisNexis and now in its fifth edition.

Jeremy Duffy Autonomy First

Jeremy Duffy

Principal Lawyer

Jeremy Duffy is a contracted Principal Solicitor based in South Australia. Jeremy has over 38 years of experience including as a partner in two Adelaide law firms. His background includes numerous litigation matters in both State and Federal jurisdictions and non-litigious advisory and transactional work in trusts, estate planning, property law and commercial transactions. Jeremy’s clients over the years have included corporates, banks, property developers and managers, financial advisors, representative bodies and private clients. Leveraging his extensive and varied skill set, he adeptly handles a broad spectrum of legal matters for a diverse clientele. Jeremy has a strong interest in developing technology to help deliver legal services more efficiently.

Amber Geake Autonomy First Lawyes

Amber Geake

Associate Lawyer

Amber Geake, Associate Lawyer at Autonomy First Lawyers, has been working in the legal sector since 2016 and was admitted to the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 2020. A passionate advocate, Amber’s focus is on all matters dealing with estates, including succession planning, estate administration and estate litigation. She has substantial experience in contested estate litigation (family provision, contested probate, testamentary capacity and validity, protected persons and general equity matters) in the Supreme Court of New South Wales. Her background also includes assisting clients within the Guardianship Division of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Amber is currently undertaking her Master of Applied Law (Wills and Estates) at the College of Law.


   Resolving complex decisions

   Protect your loved ones

   Resolve family conflict

   Peace of mind

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