Estate planning is the art of control and protection of family wealth down the generations in ways that avoid disputes and help to reduce tax.
You may well feel that this is a straight forward exercise involving the passing of your assets to your beneficiaries.
However, in estate planning, we need to review and consider amongst other things issues in the following areas:
- What actually are your assets and liabilities
- What assets and liabilities are in other entities and how do we pass control of those entities
- Tax impacts
- Possible use of testamentary trusts
- Special provisions relating to superannuation benefits
- Who will be your executors and what if they are unable or unwilling to act
- Any special needs of particular beneficiaries
- Issues associated with “mixed families” – offspring from previous relationships
- Any concerns of challenges to the will from dissatisfied beneficiaries
So, what might seem to you a simple and common process needs to take account of your own situation and circumstances and all the above factors.
To not do so could result in serious implications for the effectiveness of your estate planning.
We work with you to gain and an understanding of your wishes – such that:
- the control of your estate is in the hands of executors who will carry out your wishes
- that the various entities that you now control or influence, will subsequently be “suitably” controlled
- your beneficiaries receive the inheritance and benefits that you intend, and no more than this
- your beneficiaries are protected as far as possible once they inherit
There are 3 elements:
Appropriate assets – will there be enough assets to pay off your debts and care for your family
Appropriate people – are you sure your assets will go where you want them to go
Appropriate time – children receive their inheritance when they are mature enough to cope
The benefit of proceeding in this manner is that you are more assured the wealth and assets that you have grown will pass to those that you intend.
The end “product” of the exercise will be new documents such as wills, enduring powers of attorney, and binding death nominations, as prepared by your legal advisers.
To assist your legal advisers in drafting these documents, we propose to provide them with a “package” of the data that they will require.
The package will contain sufficient data such that your legal adviser will be able to focus on the tasks of drafting your will etc, with a full understanding of your structure and without the need to request additional paperwork.
This should assist in managing the costs involved and provide a result that is line with your wishes.
We are not legal advisers, and cannot provide legal advice or documentation. Accordingly it will be necessary for your legal adviser to consider your position, your wishes, review the constituent documents of the company/trust/superannuation fund and provide specific advice, and of course document your will. Our documented approach wil assist with that process.
Access our full range of Estate Planning documents below
Is your Will really your will?
Circumstances change, intentions change, families change – does your Will need to change? How long has it been since you revisited your Will to see if it is still an accurate reflection of your wishes?
What will happen to your estate in the future?
Isn’t it as simple as… I die, everything goes to my spouse, then everything to the kids equally on their passing?
Click here for key questions you should consider that could effect the distribution of your Estate and access our Estate Planning Guide.
Could your loved ones benefit from a testamentary trust?
Often the last thing on our minds when planning our Estate is considering the tax effectiveness of our wishes. However, as this example explains, it can be costly not to.
Have you been made an Executor of an Estate?
Your role as an Executor of someone’s Will is an important and responsible one. You owe a duty of care to the deceased’s estate and the beneficiaries so it is important to fully understand your responsibilities.
Click here for our checklist for Executors.
Why your Will shouldn’t be the only document that guides your Estate
The death of a person is an emotional time for everyone involved – and a time when those people do not need the added stress or confusion in sorting out the deceased’s affairs.
For this reason, in addition to your Will, we suggest you complete our guide for your executor.