Do I need an estate plan?

Getting an estate plan is an important step in making sure that your legal and financial affairs are in order.

Having a solid estate plan means that in the event of your death, your finances and assets are distributed in line with your wishes. If you don’t’ have an estate plan your estate will be distributed in line with the rules of intestacy.

What is an estate plan?

An estate plan involves the following documents:

  • Will – This is a document which sets out how you would like your assets distributed in the event of your death. A Will can be a very straight forward or a very complicated document depending on the size and complexity of your estate and how comprehensive you would like your will to be.
  • Power of Attorney – A power of attorney is a document which appoints another person as your decision maker in the event that you become temporarily or permanently disable and are no longer able to make decisions for yourself. You can appoint a power of attorney to step in to make decisions about your legal matters and medical treatment. These decisions can be made by the same person or two or more different people in agreement.An example of this would be if you had a car accident and were placed in a coma. Your power of attorney would be able to make decisions about your medical treatment on your behalf.
  • Testamentary Trust- this is a kind of trust which works together with your will. A testamentary trust puts in place ongoing control of your assets after your death. You can use a testamentary trust to control when and how your beneficiaries get your assets for example when your children turn a certain age.

Other things that your estate planning lawyer will help you consider include your superannuation and associated death benefits, insurances and other financial affairs which you need to manage and plan for.

What is an executor and do I need one?

The executor of your estate is the person you appoint to manage and distribute you estate after your death. Your executor will administer and carry out the terms set out in your will and in the best interests of the beneficiaries of your estate.

If you would like to start drafting an estate plan or have been named as an executor in someone else’s Will contact our offices today to speak to a solicitor in our estates team.

What if a loved one never left a Will or I have been left out of their Will?

Our lawyers are not only great at drafting estate plans they are also experts at dealing with or contesting a deceased estate.

The death of a loved one can be a very emotional and stressful time, even more so when issues arrived from the deceased’s estate. In these circumstances we can discuss a variety of different options and find a pathway that suits you and your family’s interest best. Estates can often be more straightforward than people automatically assume and having a friendly and approachable expert on your side can make even the most complicated matter seem straightforward.