Our non-contentious team is led by David Miller, a highly regarded partner at Kott Gunning for more than 30 years. David brings considerable knowledge and experience to the firm in the areas of property, finance and non-contentious estate planning. Many longstanding clients continue to seek his advice based on a solid reputation for delivering outstanding service and results. He maintains close relationships with accountants and financial planners, who continue to endorse the quality of his work by referring their own clients to Kott Gunning. David Miller guides and mentors a dynamic team including Claire Hawke-Gundill and Andrea Onley. Whilst we focus on achieving results without the need for litigation, our dedicated Commercial Dispute Resolution team including partners Mark Fatharly and Elise Croft specialise in contentious trust and estate matters. They have achieved timely and cost-effective results for their clients for many years.
David Miller, Mark Fatharly and Elise Croft are full members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (“STEP”), the leading worldwide professional body for practitioners in the fields of trusts, estates and related issues.
Kott Gunning has grown a substantial private client practice for a range of clients big and small. These include farming families, trustee companies, charitable foundations and small and medium enterprises.
We’re widely experienced in estate planning, administration and general non-contentious private client practice. We are also involved in a growing number of contentious trust and estate litigation matters.
Estate planning and administration
The firm prepares more than 400 wills per year. Our easy to read approach to wills appeals greatly to our clients. Where appropriate, we also prepare more complex wills establishing testamentary trusts and special disability trusts.
As well as providing general advice on estate planning, we are involved in the administration of more than 100 estates per year, either in our capacity as executors or by assisting executors to administer estates.
Our experience in this area includes:
- Advice and estate planning in light of potential Family Court issues for beneficiaries and potential or expected family provision claims.
- Preparing non-contentious Supreme Court applications including applications for Grants of Probate, Grants of Letters of Administration for intestacy matters and applications for the proof of informal wills.
- Advising estate plans and administering estates with cross-border issues.
- Attending to general estate administration, including share transfers and transmission, survivorship applications, transmission applications and property conveyancing.
- Advising of entitlements and options in circumstances where somebody has died without a will.
Kott Gunning provides advice and assistance to trustees and beneficiaries of private inter-vivos trusts. We offer discretion to clients who do not wish to be known for their charitable donations.
The services we offer in relation to trust matters include:
- Preparing and advising with respect to inter vivos trusts, including reviewing trust deeds, varying trust deeds and advising of duty implications.
- Acting for members and trustees of self-managed superannuation funds to establish custodian trustees when required for limited recourse borrowing arrangements.
- Regularly reviewing trust deeds in light of proposed financial transactions.
Trust and estate litigation
We pride ourselves on our ability to resolve disputes as early and as efficiently as possible.
Our experience in this area includes advising and representing executors, trustees and beneficiaries in the Supreme Court of Western Australia and the State Administrative Tribunal relating to:
- Validity of and proof of wills in solemn form arising from capacity issues, undue influence, informal wills or disputes between co-executors.
- Claims upon deceased estates under the Family Provision Act.
- Authority and obligations of executors, administrators and trustees under the Trustees Act, Trustee Companies Act and Administration Act.
- Appointment of next friends and guardians ad litem for parties under a disability.
- DNA testing where there is a question as to paternity (or other familial relationship) with the deceased.
- Superannuation and death benefit entitlements and disputes.
- Court appointed trusts and payments of compensation into superannuation with consequential taxation benefits.
- Capital gains tax issues arising from estate and trust property.
- Appointment of guardians and administrators under the Guardianship and Administration Act.