Many people do not seriously think about their Wills, or how their estate should be arranged when they die.
You can place your assets into a Trust either now or under your will, for tax planning purposes or because there are some beneficiaries who you feel should be protected. You can use a trust to protect an older spouse who cannot manage assets on their own, a spouse, child or other beneficiary who has, or gets into financial problems, or a beneficiary who is disabled or dependant upon Centrelink .
A trust can ensure that the assets are distributed to your beneficiaries in a way that is most suitable to those beneficiaries at that time, as needs change.
We provide advise in relation to Succession Act claims, which are claims against the estate of a deceased person. We sometimes have clients say that if you leave a person a small amount then they can’t make a claim. This simply isn’t true. It is a good example of free advice being worth what you pay for it.
It is not possible to stop an ’eligible person’ as defined in the Act from making a claim against an estate, however with proper planning you can assist your Executors if you anticipate a claim. It is obviously very difficult to answers questions once you have died. Most people focus on personality or relationship when explaining a Will, the Supreme Court is largely focused on provision to the claimant and needs of the claimant. We can help you prepare a statement that can assist your Executor if a claim is made against your estate.
If you are getting married, are separated or divorced, or commencing or ending a de facto relationship, you really should amend your Will. Certain events, like divorce, sever a Will and other events, like commencing a de facto relationship, might create a beneficiary who can make a claim against your estate and you need to plan for this.
Superannuation Funds are not bound by your Will and your appeals against their decisions are limited. You should complete a binding death benefit statement confirming who should receive your superannuation on your death. If this form is filled out correctly and it is current then you could avoid your entitlements being paid to someone else, or the government. We can assist you with completing these forms.
You should speak to your Accountant about planning for your retirement and estate planning, both in relation to asset growth or management and tax benefits of certain options. Whether you are worried about providing for your retirement, your spouse or your children, generally the earlier you see your Accountant and start your planning, the better your result.