WILLS AND ESTATE PLANNING
Everyone over the age of 18 should have a Will and they should be reviewed at least every two years
If you die without a Will your assets will be distributed according to a scheme set up by the government (“the Intestacy Rules”) which makes no allowance for your wishes
You must appoint an Executor to see to the distribution of your estate in accordance with your wishes.
Estate Planning needs to fully consider businesses and other assets which are held in companies, trusts and other structures
Consideration must be given to statutory rights given to family and other financial dependents.
Superannuation generally does not become part of your “estate”
A Will is just one part of an Estate Plan.
An Estate Plan should create an ordered, secure yet simple and flexible overall regime for your affairs for the present and the future. The plan should be simple to operate and not be expensive to maintain. A Will is an integral part of an estate plan but it must fit comfortably with other parts of the plan.
A Will must not be drafted in isolation from other parts of the overall situation and for this reason the input of other professionals, such as Accountants and Financial Planners, is an essential part of ensuring that your wishes are given due consideration.
An Estate Plan will provide a suitable balance between your enjoyment of property and income during your lifetime and the preservation or creation of capital for your family or other beneficiaries after your death. It can also protect your estate against claims by persons outside the family.
Flexibility and adaptability are important to make sure that your plan will cope with changes in circumstances and the law in the future. Estate Plans which are not flexible may create difficult and expensive problems in the future.
For these reasons a personal consultation is essential in order to gain a thorough understanding of your circumstances.
BEING AN EXECUTOR
You might expect that one or twice in your lifetime you will be appointed as Executor of another person’s Will. Estate administration will be a new experience for you, but it is something that we assist people with every day of the week and we are familiar with the requirements of the Titles Office, Banks, Insurance Companies, Superannuation Funds and Share Registries. We can help you to cope with the procedures involved and can assist you if it is necessary to negotiate sensitive family issues.
We can undertake Probate Applications and assist you regarding the distribution of assets and finalisation of the estate.
Being an Executor is a complex task and legal, financial and taxation knowledge is of great value.
CHALLENGES TO WILLS
We have acted in many cases where a family member considers they have been treated unfairly in the Will. Whether you are an Executor (whose duty it is to uphold the Will) or a family member who has been unfairly dealt with, we can assist you to negotiate the legal minefield.
ENDURING POWERS OF ATTORNEY
An Enduring Power of Attorney allows you to plan for the unexpected circumstance of you not being able to make decisions when you need to. You can appoint an Attorney who will have the authority to make decisions that you could make yourself. You can limit the power and you can set terms to assist them in dealing with your affairs if you are incapable of doing so.