What is estate planning?
Estate Planning is not just about having a Will. It involves the review, management and control of your personal, family and business affairs and assets - while you are alive and when you pass away.
Estate Planning can be as simple as having a Will, but often involves powers of attorney, enduring guardianships and sometimes more where there are complex global, wealth and family arrangements.
A well-considered Estate Plan can cover your:
- Current lifestyle needs
- Retirement plans
- Business arrangements
- Tax position
- Future critical events such as divorce
- Health scares and family disputes as well as ensuring your assets go exactly where you wish them to go
- We understand your unique circumstances and can help establish an estate plan thatâ€™s right for you
We're here to help
Our dedicated Wills, probate and estate planning lawyers have a thorough knowledge of this potentially complex area. We can advise you on:
- Completing and updating a Will
- Preparing powers of attorney
- Preparing enduring powers of guardianship
- Administration of a deceased estate, including superannuation and death benefits, and Will disputes
What is the process of estate planning?
Estate Planning is a three-part process involving;
Identifying your personal assets, and those in your broader estate such as assets owned jointly, or owned by trusts, companies, superannuation or insurance.
Identifying potential risks you wish to plan around, while alive and after you pass away including, for example, your early death or a possible divorce or bankruptcy of a beneficiary.
Working with your lawyer, financial planner and accountant to design and implement a tailored plan that incorporates all your assets, and takes into account flexibility to accommodate future changes, risk minimisation, tax minimisation and succession issues.
Depending on the complexity of your personal and financial affairs each step may involve a multi-disciplinary exercise requiring the coordinated involvement of your financial planning, accounting and legal advisers.
What is included in an estate plan?
A well-balanced Estate Plan would include the following; (not all may be relevant to you).
- A Will
- An enduring Power of Attorney to manage financial and legal matters
- Appointment of a Power of Guardianship to manage health welfare matters
- Advanced Heath Care Directive or Living Will to direct what medical treatment you do or donâ€™t want
- The integration of company, trust and superannuation structures
- The future realisation of your investment in a business
- Flexibility to accommodate changed laws, or changed circumstances that may exist at the time you die
- A tax-efficient structure addressing the income tax, Capital Gains Tax, GST and stamp duty implications of transferring assets and/or managing assets upon retirement, death or any other event
The consideration of a range of critical events apart from death. These include:
- Mental and physical incapacity â€“ yours or a beneficiaryâ€™s
- Bankruptcy or business failure â€“ yours or a beneficiaryâ€™s
- Divorce â€“ yours or a beneficiaryâ€™s
- Retirement, or
- The potential for disputes between beneficiaries over the Will
- Family Law Financial Agreements â€“ to regulate ownership of assets in a relationship
- Testamentary trusts - these trusts can be created by your Will and come into existence after you pass away.
- The use and integration of insurance as an asset in your plan, as part of a business succession scheme to cover debt or income, or simply to bolster the wealth of a future estate
- Incorporation of a retirement plan as well as investment and wealth accumulation strategies