Nobody wants to think about death in the prime of life. But it is important to decide what will happen to your assets when you die.
Take five minutes to read the information in this letter and call us to find out how you can give instructions to your family about your legal and medical preferences should you fall ill or lose the capacity to make those decisions yourself.
An estate plan includes your Will as well as any other directions on how you want your assets distributed after your death. It includes documents that govern how you will be cared for, medically and financially, if you become unable to make your own decisions in the future.
You must be over 18 and mentally competent when you draw up the legal agreements that form your estate plan (without Court Intervention). Key documents may include:
• Superannuation death nominations;
• Testamentary trust;
• Powers of attorney;
• Power of guardianship.
If you have made a binding nomination in your superannuation or insurance policies, the beneficiaries named in those policies will override anyone mentioned in your Will.
If you have a Family Trust, the Trust continues and its assets will be distributed according to the Trust Deed, no matter what is written in your Will.
It is important that you call us if:
• you have any doubts or concerns about your affairs, or
• your family circumstances have changed, or
• you decide it is time to start thinking about the future and want to establish or update your estate plan.
A good estate plan should minimise the tax paid by your heirs, and help minimise the impact of any family squabbles.
A Will takes effect when you die. It can cover things like how your assets will be shared, who will look after your children if they are still young, what trusts you want established, how much money you’d like donated to charities and instructions about your funeral.
A Testamentary Trust is a Trust set out in a Will that only takes effect when the person who has created the Will, dies. Testamentary Trusts are usually set up to protect assets.
Here are some reasons why you would create a Testamentary Trust:
• The beneficiaries are minors (under 18 – 21 years old);
• The beneficiaries have diminished mental capacity;
• You do not trust the beneficiary to use their inheritance wisely;
• You do not want family assets split as part of a divorce settlement;
• You do not want family assets to become part of bankruptcy proceedings.
A Trust will be administered by a trustee who is usually appointed in the Will. A trustee must look after the assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries until the Trust expires.
The expiry date of a Trust will be a specific date such as when a minor reaches a certain age or a beneficiary achieves a certain goal or milestone, like getting married or attaining a specific qualification, up to 80 years into the future.
Powers of Attorney
Appointing someone as your Power of Attorney gives them the legal authority to look after your affairs on your behalf.
Powers of Attorney can refer to just financial powers, or they might include broader health decision making powers.
Generally speaking, there are different types of power of attorney:
• A general power of attorney is where you appoint someone to make financial and legal decisions for you, usually for a specified period of time, for example if you are overseas and unable to manage your legal affairs at home. This person’s appointment becomes invalid if you lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself.
This power is often used by companies so that they can operate after the death of a director.
• An enduring power of attorney is where you appoint a person to make financial and legal decisions for you if you lose the capacity to make your own decisions.
• A medical power of attorney can make only medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so yourself.
You can prepare these and other documents to help your legal appointees and family as you grow older
The documents you choose to draw up will depend on your situation, and the responsibilities you are happy to entrust to others.
Calvados + Woolf Lawyers are experts in this area and we can advise you on how to cater for your future needs. Once your paperwork has been drafted and is in order, it will help your executor and family if you list the legal documents you have and where they are kept.
Call Calvados + Woolf Lawyers today to arrange an appointment to discuss your specific needs and how
Calvados + Woolf Lawyers can assist