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Key Issues To Include In Your Will

Anthony Keane published an article entitled “Have you the will to leave your family in peace?” in the Courier Mail on 13 June 2011. Anthony quotes Darren James of AMP Financial Planning.

In the article Anthony summarises some of the key issues that Darren James considers should be included in the Will. All of the points raised by Darren are correct, and very important. In this post I would like to summarise some of the important factors that I feel should be taken into account when considering your Will. These are:

Your Executor

The appointment of an appropriate Executor is critical. Executors have very strict duties and choosing the wrong person could end up costing your estate a lot of money, or worse still,  result in your wishes not being properly carried out.

Tax

Taxation objectives are key considerations when preparing your Will and estate plan. The treatment of different assets within your estate can have, in some cases, unwanted and avoidable tax consequences.

Asset Protection

It is very important to take into the account the circumstances of the beneficiaries of your Estate so as to minimise any risk that their inheritance could be eroded.

The ownership of your assets

In some states in Australia, assets that are not owned in your own personal name do not form part of your estate. These include companies, trusts and superannuation funds. It is very important to consider how the control of these entities is passed in your estate, and what happens to the assets that are owned by these entities.

Superannuation

It is important to thoroughly consider your superannuation as it may be paid directly into your Estate. Some of my clients prepare a Binding Death Nomination to ensure that the benefit from their superannuation fund is paid directly to the person that they nominate.

Family Provision

It is very important to consider the implications if you do not adequately provide for your spouse/children/dependents in your Will. Detailed advice should be obtained in this situation.

Businesses

If a business is owned in a company or partnership it is very important to consider what happens to the business, and the ownership of the business, upon your death. Often people enter into buy/sell agreements, (also referred to as Business Wills) to ensure a smooth transition in the ownership of the business upon death of one of the owners.

Life Insurance

Life insurance is a critical tool to ensure that your debts are paid out, and your beneficiaries are adequately provided for upon your death.

Testamentary Trusts

Testamentary Trusts are a very good tool to achieve different objectives within your Will and Estate plan. They can have the effect of minimising tax for your beneficiaries, assisting your beneficiaries in their wealth creation and management, and also asset protection.

The ultimate aim of estate planning is to maximise the value of your estate and reduce any potential hardship to your beneficiaries. It is important that you speak with your solicitor, or contact me to discuss any of your estate planning needs so that your wishes are carried out in an effective way.

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The information provided in this article is for general information and educative purposes in summary form on legal topics which is current at the time it is published. The content does not constitute legal advice or recommendations and should not be relied upon as such. Whilst every care has been taken in the preparation of this article, Wills, Estates and Probate Lawyers (WEP Lawyers) cannot accept responsibility for any errors, including those caused by negligence, in the material. We make no representations, statements or warranties about the accuracy or completeness of the information and you should not rely on it. You are advised to make your own independent inquiries regarding the accuracy of any information provided on this website. WEP Lawyers does not guarantee, and accepts no legal responsibility whatsoever arising from or in connection to the accuracy, reliability, currency, correctness or completeness of any material contained in this article. Links to third party websites or articles does not constitute any endorsement or approval of those sites or the owners of those sites. Nothing in this article should be construed as granting any licence or right for you to use that content. You should consult the third party’s terms and conditions of use in relation to any third-party content. WEP Lawyers disclaims all responsibility and all liability (including liability for negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages and costs you might incur as a result of the information being inaccurate or incomplete in any way. Appropriate legal advice should always be obtained in actual situations.

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Chloe Kopilovic

Written by—

Chloe Kopilovic

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