Wills and Estate Planning
What is Estate Planning?
Estate Planning is a process that everybody should engage with to provide peace of mind and ensure their loved ones are protected from financial risk or hardships that can be avoided through proper planning.
Estate Planning is about more than just preparing a Will and Powers of Attorney. It’s about ensuring that all your legal affairs (such as your land holdings, life insurance policies, superannuation documents, existing trust and corporate structures) are in order, in sync and aligned with your objectives. And as life is constantly changing, your estate plan should be periodically reviewed to ensure that it is still relevant to your changing familial and financial circumstances.
Why do I need a Will?
Not having a valid Will can impose unnecessary hardships on your loved ones who survive you.
Firstly, if you were to die without having a valid Will (referred to as ‘dying intestate’), your estate will be distributed in accordance with the intestacy laws of Victoria. This is a distribution of the estate’s assets according to a formula set by the laws of Victoria. This is a rigid process that doesn’t take into account your wishes, your unique relationships with the potential beneficiaries, the composition of the estate assets, or the personal and financial circumstances of the potential beneficiaries. Needless to say, this can lead to unsatisfactory distributions, especially where there are children and former partners involved.
Secondly, by not having a Will you automatically forfeit the opportunity for enhanced protection and preservation, as well as tax effective solutions, that a properly drafted Will could provide to your loved ones in your absence.
Finally, not having a Will causes delay, confusion and adds to the costs of administering your estate as your loved ones are forced to fill the void and second guess your testamentary intentions.
By having an Estate Plan that consists of a properly drafted Will, Powers of Attorney and Superannuation Death Benefit Nomination in place, you can have peace of mind that your legal affairs are all coordinated and that you will be leaving behind the best structuring for your loved ones and family members.