What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is preparing your affairs and the relevant documents to ensure that your loved ones can manage your affairs in the event you become incapacitated or your passing. This provides your loved ones with your direction and guidance to ensure your wishes are upheld regarding your estate and any direction for your care and welfare if you become incapacitated.
What is a Will?
A will is a legally enforceable document which sets out your wishes and directions for your loved ones in the event of your passing including how you would like your assets distributed, whether you would like any gifts to be given, and whether you would like any specific gifts be made to charities. You can also include directions for the care of any minor children, and any burial or funeral requests.
Benefits of a Will
- You have the control to choose you want to be your executor and administer your estate.
- You can adequately provide for any minor children and ensure they are being taken care of by a person you trust.
- You can give particular loved ones specific gifts or a part of your estate and you can give gifts to charities.
What is a testamentary trust Will?
A testamentary trust Will, upon death establishes one or more discretionary trust which protects assets or protects certain persons from being entitled to your estate.
These kinds of Wills are only necessary if you have a complicated personal or business affairs structure, you are seeking to protect your assets from a particular person, you wish for your beneficiaries to be entitled to their inheritance upon criteria, and other circumstances.
Not everyone will need their Will to be a testamentary trust Will. If you would like advice regarding what kind of Will is most suitable to your circumstances, contact us today to arrange a consultation with an experienced Wills and Estate Lawyer.
Other Estate Planning Documents
The other documents which are included in Estate planning include:
- Enduring Power of Attorney;
- Medical Treatment Decision Maker; and
- Advanced Care directive.
An enduring power of attorney is a formal document which empowers a person to act for you in a legal and financial capacity, in the event you are unable to, or you have become incapacitated.
A medical Treatment Decision Maker is a formal document where you appoint a person/s to act for you in making medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
An Advanced Care directive provides instructions to your medical decision makers about your values and wishes in the event you become unwell and unable to care for yourself.
All these documents are valuable estate planning tools as they inform those you are entrusting to make decisions for you. It is important to have these tools in place in case of the worst, to save your loved ones the stress of needing to seek legal advice to ensure your proper care and wellbeing.
When should I update my Estate Plan or Will?
Your Estate Plan or Will should be updated any time there is a significant change in your life or your wealth, for example any time you:
- Buy or Sell Property
- Have Children
- Marry or Separate
- Start a Business
- Refinance Property
Keeping your Plan up to date ensures that your wishes are followed and your loved ones do not enter a prolonged probate.
Can I create my own Will using an ‘Online Will Kit’?
You can, these Will kits are an attractive option to save money on planning your estate. They are generally suited to younger people with little wealth and assets who do not own property or a business and wish to leave their assets to immediate family. These Kit’s should still be updated when there are significant changes in your circumstances.
Even while Will kits may be appropriate for some, they can be risky as there are formalities and requirements which must be met to prepare a legally enforceable Will. While preparing your Will with an experience lawyer may be a small investment now, it can save your loved ones the added stress and cost in the future if your Will was not accepted by the court during the probate application. Your estate doesn’t need to be wasted on lawyers and fees and can directly benefit your beneficiaries.
Online or ‘mail in’ will kits are not suitable if you have accumulated wealth and assets such as property, investments, or you run your own business. Complex Estate Plans should be created after a Face-to-Face consultation with an expert Lawyer.
Fixed Price Packages!
The Family Lawyer makes estate planning easy. We walk you through each step of the process with an expert Lawyer to make sure your vital legal and medical documents are in order to give you piece of mind.
Wills and Estate Planning is often left until we are longer in the tooth, but the truth is we need to have a succession plan in place as soon as we start accumulating wealth or a family. Have you recently bought your first home, married, started a family? Now is the time to think about what you can do to protect your wealth and loved ones.
At the Family Lawyer we create your Will the same way we prepare our own and those of our family, and we keep a copy on record so that you don’t have to worry if you lose a document.