ESTATE PLANNING ADVICE MELBOURNE
What is Estate Planning?
Effective estate planning helps to formalise your objectives for your estate that are in accordance with your wishes, building financial security for your dependents and ensuring that the wealth you have accumulated over your lifetime is not wasted.
How and to whom your estate assets are distributed to can potentially have the greatest impact on the value of your estate. In simple terms, the administration of your deceased estate needs to take into consideration the income tax and potential CGT consequences when assets are received by your deceased estate or beneficiary(s). Tax issues can be complex so it is recommended that you seek proper financial and tax advice before making any decision.
What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document that allows you to choose who should benefit from your estate and who should administer it. A professionally prepared Will is likely to ensure that your exact wishes are expressed in terms that are clear, concise and unambiguous. You may like to think about having your Will professionally prepared as a minor mistake may affect the distribution of your estate. We can help to introduce you to an experienced estate planning lawyer.
Estate planning helps keep families together
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Wills may make provision for the establishment of one or more trusts for the benefit of your spouse, children, grandchildren or other intended beneficiaries. These trusts can be an effective estate planning strategy, providing asset protection, flexibility and the tax effective distribution of your deceased estate assets to beneficiaries. Testamentary trusts can be discretionary trusts that offer flexibility to trustees to vary the distribution of income and capital depending on the beneficiaries’ circumstances. This can include beneficiaries who are under 18 years of age who pay tax on testamentary trust income at normal marginal tax rates. They are not subject to the higher tax rate which applies to certain types of income in relation to minors. It is recommended that before making any decisions you consult a qualified adviser and/or solicitor (in conjunction with a tax adviser) about making provisions for a testamentary trust in your Will as they can be extremely complex. We’d be happy to help.
If you do not have a valid Will when you die, you are said to have died “intestate”. Distribution of your estate will then be carried out by a court-appointed administrator in accordance with current state-based legislation. If the administrator cannot establish who your relatives are, your estate may pass to the State. If you do not have a Will or believe that your Will does not reflect your current wishes, you may like to think about contacting your solicitor.
Power of Attorney
Granting a Power of Attorney means that you legally appoint a person or organisation to make decisions, sign documents and generally act on your behalf in various matters. When you grant a Power of Attorney you can choose to either limit the actions which the attorney can perform on your behalf (limited Power of Attorney) or give the attorney broader powers to undertake all necessary actions on your behalf (general Power of Attorney). Both types of Power of Attorney are automatically revoked if the person granting them becomes mentally incapable of handling their own affairs. An enduring Power of Attorney, on the other hand, will continue to operate if you become mentally incapable. Again, you may like to discuss these issues with your solicitor.