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Estate Planning – What and who does it apply to?

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Estate Planning covers a wide range of things that need to be considered and planned for in the event of your death, or a situation in which you are unable to manage your own financial affairs. The aim of Estate Planning, is to minimise risks to your assets including costly family provision claims and tax.

Estate Planning includes having an up-to-date Will and other supporting documents, such as a Power of Attorney and an Enduring Guardianship.

Estate Planning applies to everyone. It does not have to be expensive, it can be as simple as, ensuring that your Will is up to date and that it addresses any issues that may arise between your family and the distribution of your assets under your Will.

Your Will

Making a Will and ensuring that it is updated when your circumstances change, is a fundamental part of Estate Planning. A carefully considered and drafted Will can minimise risks to your Estate. These risks include family provision claims, where your Will is challenged on the grounds that it does not adequately provide for a person, it should have provided for such as children, spouses and people who were dependent on you.

Continuous updating of your Will, also ensures that it remains valid, particularly if you have  married or divorced, or the person you have appointed as Executor of your Estate, is no longer able to act as your Executor.

Your Will can also address your wishes in relation to the care of any of your children under the age of eighteen years.

Your Superannuation

It is also important to understand that there may be some of your assets that will not form part of your Estate and cannot be distributed in your Will. This often includes your Superannuation, where your Superannuation Fund retains the discretion on who will receive your superannuation.

To ensure that your superannuation is dealt with in accordance with your wishes, it is necessary to make a binding nomination on your Superannuation Fund which removes their discretion and requires them to pay your superannuation to the people you have nominated.

Your Enduring Power of Attorney

Estate Planning also considers what will happen if you are no longer able to make financial decisions because of a mental, or physical condition. Powers of Attorney can address specific assets or they can be an Enduring Power of Attorney, only to be used in the event that you are no longer able to act.

Your Enduring Guardian

Just as an Enduring Power of Attorney deals with your financial affairs, an Enduring Guardian will be able to deal with your other affairs such as your care, health and medical decisions if you are not able to make these decisions.

Graeme Heckenberg is an expert Wills & Estates lawyer and will be able to guide you advise you in Estate Planning.

Call today for a an appointment closer to home on 9221 0341

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