Our Expertise :
Estate Planning, Trusts and Estate Litigation


Family structures are more complex and fragmented today than at any time in history - We have an experienced, multi-disciplinary team with the capability to administer estates of all sizes and complexity, including those with overseas assets.

Expertise in administer estates of all sizes and complexity

Family structures are more complex and fragmented today than at any time in history making the need to ensure your affairs are in good order and reflect your changing family and asset situation all the more important. Higher divorce rates, blended families and de-facto relationships increase the pool of potential claimants and create scope for conflict. 

We have a highly experienced, multi-disciplinary team with the capability to administer estates of all sizes and complexity, including those with overseas assets. Our team includes lawyers who are members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and an Accredited Specialist in Wills and Estates Law.

To ensure that your wishes are made clear, that your wealth is protected, that during your lifetime your affairs are managed the way you want them to be if you lose the capacity to do so yourself, and that your estate is distributed according to your instructions after your death. This helps to remove potential problems for family and friends at a sensitive time and ensures that the administration of your estate is conducted as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Specialists on your side

Estate planning is an area of law that often appears deceptively simple. It is not; even for people with comparatively modest assets. For those with more complex estates, there is enormous scope for things to go awry.

Assets that are not held personally – for example in trusts, superannuation and joint holdings – need to be dealt with skilfully to ensure they are protected and distributed the way their owner intended. When they are not, the fallout can have unintended consequences.

Our estate litigators specialise in Will disputes and other estate litigation. Many such claims are resolved prior to a court hearing which in general is financially beneficial for all concerned. Where this is not possible our estate litigators will apply their specialist expertise to ensure that the best result possible is achieved.


Industry Rankings

The Makinson d’Apice Estate Planning, Trusts and Litigation team are ranked in the 2023 Doyles’ Guide in all areas Wills & Estates Litigation and Wills, Estates & Succession Planning. In addition, Paul Evans, Partner is ranked  as a Preeminent Wills, Estates & Succession Planning Lawyer in NSW (1 of only 4 lawyers), and both Paul Evans and Erin Dawson are ranked in the listing of Leading Wills & Estates Litigation Lawyers in NSW. 

The Doyles’ Guide details lawyers and law firms practising in the legal market who have been identified by their peers for their expertise and abilities in the ranked areas.

This is the sixth consecutive year Makinson d’Apice’s Estate Planning and Litigation lawyers are ranked in the guide, a testament to the team’s market leading position in the legal profession.

In 2022, Hannah Horlin-Smith, Senior Associate in the team was ranked as a one of only nine Wills, Estates & Succession Planning Law Rising Stars in NSW and ACT. 

Erin Dawson also received recognition as a Rising Star in 2019 in the areas of Wills, Estates & Succession Planning in Australia. At the time, Erin was one of only 14 lawyers in Australia ranked in the Doyles’ Guide. 

Estate Planning, Trusts and Estate Litigation Legal Expertise

Latest Firm Published Insights

Key People Estate Planning, Trusts and Estate Litigation

Our clients and services

Our Clients

  • Beneficiaries of estates
  • Families, including blended families and those with same sex parents
  • Family members excluded from the Will
  • NSW residents involved in estates in other states and overseas

Our Services

Estate Planning

  • Enduring powers of attorney for financial matters
  • Wills incorporating trusts:
    • Testamentary Discretionary Trusts – These have significant benefits including reducing tax payable on income distributed for the benefit of children and grandchildren under 18 years of age. They also give asset protection from risks arising on divorce/relationship breakdown and bankruptcy
    • Life Estate Trusts – These give an income stream to a beneficiary with control of capital remaining with a trustee
    • Special Disability Trusts – These provide for the care and accommodation needs of a person with a severe disability
  • Enduring guardian nominations for health and lifestyle matters and advanced health directives (or living Wills) dealing with end of life decisions.


Probate and Estate Administration

  • Obtaining a grant of Probate:
    • Intestate (where there is no Will) – also known as Letters of Administration
    • Testate (where there is a Will) – also known as Probate
    • Resealing overseas grants in NSW
  • Administering estates by collecting assets, paying liabilities and distributing to the beneficiaries in accordance with the Will or intestacy legislation (where there is no Will).



  • Establishment of trusts both family and charitable including Private Ancillary Funds
  • Interpretation of ambiguous trust deeds
  • Amendment of trust deeds
  • Appointment and retirement of trustees
  • Ongoing duties and obligations of trustees.


Estate Litigation

  • Family provision claims against estates
  • Estates in which the testamentary capacity of the testator is in question.
  • The rectification of Wills – where the Will does not reflect the intentions of the deceased
  • The interpretation of Wills – where the Will is ambiguous
  • Statutory Will applications
  • Applications for judicial advice.

We have a culture in which everyone shares a common vision and has a part to play in making things happen.