What is Estate Planning?
Wills and Estate planning (also referred to as succession planning) is the process of putting strategies in place to ensure your personal and business interests are managed according to your wishes when you pass away or if you lose capacity to manage them yourself.
Strategies vary depending on the type of assets you own, your family situation, and your personal intentions. It is highly important to regularly update you will when changes occur in your life.
Just as important as considering what assets and liabilities should be dealt with by your Will is considering what assets and liabilities should be kept out of your estate and out of the Will’s scope. It is often necessary to quarantine assets to protect them from potential property and will dispute claims by creditors, excluded family members and former partners.
To help you identify if you need to update your Will, we have provided the following checklist as a guide. If you tick any of the corresponding boxes, then we suggest booking an appointment for a review of your existing documents with our Estate Planning Solicitors.
Has your family circumstances changed?
Have you, or anyone mentioned in your estate planning documents:
Married or started a new de facto relationship;
Changed or intend to change name;
Moved interstate or overseas;
Separated or divorced;
Become or likely to become bankrupt, or discharged from bankruptcy;
Had or decided to have children?
Identify potential risks to the estate
Are you concerned about the motive or ability of the people you have nominated to be your:
Attorneys for financial matters;
Guardians of your minor children;
Replacement directors or shareholders of any private company;
Trustees or Appointors for any testamentary trusts;
Attorneys for personal and health matters;
Replacement trustees of any family or self-managed superannuation trust;
Superannuation death beneficiaries?
Has your financial situation changed?
Have you encountered any of the following circumstances? If any of these are applicable to you, we recommend seeking professional advice to ensure your Succession plan will protect your assets in the event you pass away.
Acquired any significant new assets or cash (jointly or alone);
Lent anyone money;
Changed or ended your superannuation;
Ended a business or partnership;
Transferred assets into or out of a trust;
Taken out, ended or changed a life insurance policy?
Incurred any significant new financial liabilities (eg. personal loans);
Sold any assets promised specifically to someone in your Will;
Started a new business or partnership;
Created or ended a trust;
Transferred or acquired assets overseas or interstate;
Has anyone named in your estate planning documents died or suffered a mental impairment?
Do you now believe someone might challenge your Will?
Are you still happy with the beneficiaries you have nominated, and the share of your estate they will receive?
Has anything else changed that might affect your estate planning?