Wills, Estate Planning & Probate

Worried about fights breaking out after you die – Let us help keep the family fights minimised

A good succession strategy minimises disputes and we design strategies as individual as you are.

There is no one answer about how to do your Will. It all depends on your assets, your circumstances and who your beneficiaries will be.

You need to make a will that makes your wishes clear, that avoids confusion and conflict amongst your loved ones, and that is legally valid and binding. Doing this will protect your family and friends from costly and stressful legal disputes.

Things you need to consider

Who will be your Executors?

Your Executors have the legal and administrative task of sorting out your assets and debts after you die and making sure that your wishes as outlined in the Will are upheld.

Who will be your beneficiaries and what effect will their inheritance have on their circumstances?

You can designate anyone as a beneficiary and distribute your assets in any way you like, however if you don’t provide for your family and dependents, your will can be contested and your hard won assets used on legal fees. Worse still such disputes can destroy families forever.

You also should consider the effects that an inheritance may have on your beneficiaries. In some cases a testamentary trust can sidestep potential taxation problems, so it’s important that you get specific advice about your situation.

How do you know a Will is valid?

To be valid, the person making the Will must be mentally competent, the Will must be correctly signed and witnessed, and show no evidence of tampering. The witnesses to the Will cannot be beneficiaries, or related to beneficiaries and must be over 18.

If there is any doubt, or potential for dispute as to your mental competence, you should get a doctor’s confirmation of your capacity to make the will and include it with your Will.

How often should I review my Will?

You should certainly review your Will after any major events, such as marriage, divorce, property purchase or sale, death of a beneficiary or if your assets change significantly. We also recommend that you take a look at your Will every couple of years just to make sure that it is still the best plan for you and for your family.

Nobody likes to think about it too much, but inevitably one day you will have to leave your business or farm, whether by selling up, retiring or leaving for health reasons.

It is very important to have a succession plan in place that makes the transition easy not only for yourself but also for your family and valued employees and minimises the chances of the business or farm having to be sold up when you wish to retire.

Estate planning goes beyond drafting a will – it includes:

  • The assessment of assets
  • The assessment of likely taxation issues
  • Advice regarding the possibility of claims against the estate by third parties
  • The protection of assets

Estate planning is an active process of re-evaluating the estate when circumstances in life change, such as:

  • Newly married couples or those divorcing
  • A change to the family’s asset pool
  • A change in working conditions such as the buying or selling of a business
  • Changes to superannuation, insurance policies or taxation levels

The establishment of discretionary trusts A successful plan is made involving all family members as it will take into account not only provisions for your retirement income but also the plans, aptitudes and existing assets of younger generations.

Contact us to find out more or to arrange an appointment to discuss your estate.