Estate Planning is a process which considers every aspect of your legal and financial situation. This includes a properly drawn Will which will ensure that your money and assets are divided amongst your family and friends according to your wishes. Estate Planning ensures that complex family situations, business partnerships, taxation requirements and any other legal or financial matter is carefully considered. In this way, your family and friends will receive the benefits from your estate without incurring legal or emotional problems.
Having an up to date Will is only part of the process of a proper Estate Plan. In order to give effect to your wishes it is often necessary to do much more than just make a new Will.
Firstly, it is necessary to make sure that all assets are appropriately dealt with. Unless your financial circumstances are very simple, a Will will probably be insufficient to deal with all assets.
Usually superannuation does not form part of a person’s Estate and is dealt with separately outside the Estate. No matter what type of superannuation fund you have it is very important to make sure you have a current Beneficiary Nomination in place.
Assets owned in Family Trusts also cannot be disposed of by Will as they are not owned by the individual but rather held pursuant to the terms of the Trust Deed. Where Family Trusts are involved it is important to take them into account in the Estate Plan as there are steps that can be taken such as:-
- To determine who will take control of the Trust assets; and
- If a Trust owes money (whether by way of loan or unpaid entitlement) to a Beneficiary then that entitlement can be disposed of by Will.
Claims made against Estates are becoming very common and it is often necessary to anticipate potential claims that may be made in order to implement an overall strategy to protect the Estate from claims where possible. This may also involve the need to consider the timing of transfer of assets.
One thing to remember is that advice specific to your circumstances is crucial. Contact our office today to speak with one of our Estate Planning experts.