Effective estate planning involves doing all that is possible to ensure that your assets pass to your chosen beneficiaries efficiently and tax effectively.
Proper planning for the future involves a thorough consideration of your circumstances and of the circumstances of those you wish to inherit from you. It will require consideration, not only of your directly held assets, but also of any superannuation, life insurance, interest in any trust, or business interests.
A thorough plan for the future will involve making not only a will, but also usually a power of attorney and appointment of enduring guardians.
Atkinson Vinden will assist you in all your estate planning.
Review of Estate Planning
You should review your estate planning documents periodically and particularly as your circumstances and those of your family or beneficiaries change. The circumstances that might require an amendment to your estate planning documents or measures include marriage, separation, divorce, or remarriage of yourself or your children or chosen beneficiaries, or the birth of children or grandchildren, retirement, or acquisition of new assets by purchase or inheritance.
The experienced Atkinson Vinden team of estate planning lawyers will assist you in determining effective estate planning strategies and in their review, as appropriate.
Meet The Team:
Senior Associate & Accredited Property Law Specialist
If you die without a valid will your estate will be distributed as fixed by law. The distribution is likely to be very different from what you would want. It also leads to uncertainty and concerns for those family members who survive you.
A will can be a simple document providing for the direct gift of assets on death to the beneficiaries named, or it can be a much more complex or sophisticated document creating testamentary trusts providing for greater flexibility and consequent tax savings, and protection of assets to ensure they pass to your chosen beneficiaries in circumstances where otherwise they might be at risk.
A will only deals with assets that are owned by the will maker personally.
There are other assets that will be dealt with separately from those dealt with by a will. These other assets might include jointly held property, superannuation, life insurance, trusts and partnership interests.
It is also important to understand that owning a share or shares in a family company will mean that what is dealt with by a will are the shares in the company, rather than the individual assets of the company.
Atkinson Vinden will review and advise you on all these matters.
Powers of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that enables another person person to act on your behalf in respect of your assets and financial affairs.
For a person appointed as an attorney to have power to act if you lose mental capacity, the appointment must be made under what is known as an enduring power of attorney.
Although it might never be needed, it is always wise to make an enduring power of attorney.
A power of attorney usually gives very wide powers to the attorneys and there can be some risks involved. The careful choice of persons to act as attorney is very important.
Atkinson Vinden can assist you in the preparation of a power of attorney including in deciding its terms, who you should appoint as attorneys and any restriction on the circumstances when the attorneys may act and any limitation on their powers in respect of your property.
Appointments of Enduring Guardians
Under an Appointment of Enduring Guardians, the guardian or guardians appointed have power to make medical and lifestyle decisions for you, including where you should live and what medical or dental treatment you should receive. An Appointment of Enduring Guardians often includes a direction (in the terms sometimes described as a "living will") that you do not wish life support measures to be continued if there is no chance of your recovery to be able to live unassisted.
A guardian has power to act in making these decisions only when you are unable to make the decisions yourself.
Atkinson Vinden will advise you in respect of making an Appointment of Enduring Guardians.