If you don’t know what to do, or whether to do anything at all, ask yourself what you wish you had done, if the worst happened tomorrow.
Death is not something we like to think about.
This preparation is an estate plan, and everyone over the age of 18 should have one.
AN ESTATE PLAN LOOKS AT
Every persons estate plan will differ, and depend on their own circumstances, but some common documents that may form part of yours include:
- Testamentary trusts (including protective trusts)
- Enduring Powers of Attorney (ACT and NSW)
- Appointment of Enduring Guardianship (NSW)
- Health Directions (ACT) and Advanced Care Directives (NSW)
- Death Benefit Nominations (Binding and Non-Binding) for superfunds and life insurance
- Succession deeds for already existing trusts
- Letters of Wishes
- Private loan agreements
- Prenups (Binding Financial Agreements)
ESTATE PLANNING STEPS
Get in touch.
Complete an interview.
Review your plan.
Sign your documents.
ESTATE PLANNING FAQs
Your estate is everything you have in your name. This may include real estate, bank accounts, cars, debts, shares, cryptocurrency, pets, etc. Everything in your estate can be distributed under your will.
Property owned jointly with other people (including real estate and bank accounts), may not be part of your estate, unless they are owned in a specific way. Superannuation, life insurance are not automatically part of your estate, but they can be. And assets owned by private companies and trusts are also not part of your estate.
As part of your estate plan, we will determine what’s “in” and “out” of your estate, and plan to ensure that what’s “out” still passes in accordance with your wishes.
If you die without an estate plan, your estate will be distributed under the laws of intestacy (which differ in each State and Territory), and also differ depending on your circumstances. Superannuation will pass in accordance with superannuation law. Which may reflect what you want to happen.
The costs, both monetary and emotional, can be great on your family if you die without a will, as they will have to go to Court to sort this out.
Yes, they can. But this should be documented in your will and Power of Attorney documents. The law does not automatically grant your family members the ability to make decisions for you, and without the appropriate documents, they would have to go to a Court or tribunal to be given the power to do so.
Superannuation law provides a very short list of people eligible to receive your superannuation after your death. And then the list is even shorter for those who can receive it tax free. If you want to leave your super to a specific person or people, it needs to be formally documented, otherwise, the superfund will make that decision for you.
No. Certain people can always challenge your estate, if they do not feel they have been adequately provided for. While this is the case, it is still very important to have a will, especially if you’re considering “cutting someone out”, to show your intentions and to make the process of challenging as difficult as possible for that person.
A letter of wishes is a document that can accompany your will, and provides guidance to your executors and trustees about how you want them to deal with your estate. It is not legally binding, however, can provide a lot more context to your will, and include information about why you have put together your will in a certain way, how you would like people to work together, and particularly for young kids, how you would like them to be raised.