Jacqui Lee Long
Words By Suzie Grinter
Photo By Silvia Mogorovich
Making a will is one of the most important things you’ll ever do, so it pays to seek a specialist when preparing for the inevitable.
“Estate planning is vital, and the golden rule is, don’t leave it until you need it,” says Jacqui Lee Long of Williams Graham Carman. Estate planning is having at the very least, an up-to-date will, enduring power of attorney and binding death benefit nomination.
Born on the Atherton Tablelands, Jacqui grew up helping out on her parents’ cattle properties. She had her sights set on becoming a legal secretary and achieved that after leaving school.
Jacqui gained valuable experience in diverse areas of law as a legal secretary on the Atherton Tablelands and Cairns, then a paralegal for many years whilst completing nearly seven years of part time study at James Cook University, before being admitted as a lawyer.
Opportunity to specialise in an area of law that excited her at university came when a colleague retired, and Jacqui put her hand up to take over the estate planning and administration portfolio.
“Good estate planning can prevent unwelcome surprises. It is important to have an up-to-date will and in some instances, having an out-of-date will can be worse than not having a will at all,” says Jacqui.
Wills are frequently overlooked in the excitement of significant life changes such as de facto relationships, marriage and the birth of a child with an old will naming siblings as beneficiaries. Twenty years on, a sole parent dies and the child is not accounted for in the will. The child could make a claim on the estate; a long, expensive and protracted process. In this situation, having no will would have benefited the child under the intestacy laws.
“I enjoy working with my clients, helping them understand their sometimes complex estates and family dynamics, and who could make a claim on their estate by personalising an estate plan to suit their individual needs.”
“It is important to make people aware of the factors that can impact on their estate. Being proactive is cheaper than being reactive. Proper estate planning will cost much less than a trip to court. The key is reviewing your documents regularly to ensure they reflect your current wishes. If they don’t, do something about it before it is too late.”
“At WGC the partners are very open to ideas at all levels and that is refreshing.”
“Estate planning and estate administration can incorporate many areas of law so being able to identify issues is paramount and having the backup specialist knowledge of the WGC team to support my client is a great bonus,” says Jacqui.
WGC Lawyers | 1A Water St, Cairns City QLD 4870 | Ph: 07 4046 1111 | www.wgc.com.au