What is estate planning and why is a Will important?

What is a Testamentary Trust?
January 15, 2016

What is estate planning and why is a Will important?

Estate Planning is a process of arranging your financial affairs so that when you die your assets will be left to the people you choose (your beneficiaries).

A properly prepared Will can ensure that after your death your assets are distributed to your beneficiaries as simply and as quickly as possible and in a tax effective manner.

If you don’t have an up to date and properly prepared Will your assets may be distributed in a way which is contrary to your wishes.

A lawyer can ensure that your wishes are accurately recorded in writing.

Many problems arise when people prepare their own Wills or use Will “kits”.

Family friction may arise as a result of confusion arising from the interpretation of Wills that have not been professionally prepared.  A lawyer can give you the advice necessary to minimise family disputes which may arise after you die.

A lawyer can also provide advice regarding how certain assets need to be treated.

For example a house held as joint tenants will pass to the surviving tenant regardless of what is stated in the Will.  In order to avoid this a lawyer can assist with advising and implementing suitable land transaction strategies.

Assets held by companies or trusts require special attention.  A statement in your Will that an asset owed by a company or trust be dealt with in a particular way has no effect.  A lawyer can draft the clauses necessary to deal with company or trust asssets.

Superannuation benefits need to be considered.  Do you have a binding nomination?  Is it up to date?  A lawyer will be able to advise you regarding how your superannuation benefits will be treated after your death.