Most of us would agree, that our families and those close to us will be sad and upset when the inevitable time occurs, and our lives end abruptly. But how many of us have planned for this event?
It is alarming to know that more than 50% of Australians do not have a Will in place.
It is without a doubt, uncomfortable for many of us to think about preparing for our transience into the next life. And many may consider that undertaking the process of having in place a valid will, and just as importantly, an enduring power of attorney, to be an arduous and challenging process. It is this discomfort which often prevents us from taking the time to seek the legal advice and have a plan in place.
Not planning for your demise or impaired mind comes with its consequences. Not having a valid Will in place puts unnecessary stress on family members having to deal with the legal mind field of administering your estate in accordance with the laws of the state or for your family to have the know how to make an application to QCAT (Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal) to be appointed your financial administrator and / or enduring guardian in the event you lose the capacity to care for yourself or manage your finances.
What is estate planning?
What assets make up my “estate”?
What about my trust?
What happens to my money in superannuation?
Can my Will be challenged?
Who can make a claim on my estate?
These are some of the most common questions asked by people planning their estate documents. The process of estate planning can involve and present some complex legal issues which come about due to the assets of the estate and family structure. Each family has their unique set of circumstances which need to be factored into their overall estate planning. That is why it is important to not only consult your lawyer, but also involve the expertise of your accountant and other financial advisers when preparing for your estate planning.
“A common issue that arises is that when something happens, we find that the advisers are on different pages,” says Craig Ball, Estate Planning Specialist and Founder of AFAN. “These can sometimes result in unwanted and unexpected tax bills or an unanticipated change in the distribution of wealth. All advisers may have offered individually excellent advice, but not necessarily cohesive advice. Like cogs in a wheel, the various components need to work together to ensure a smooth journey!”
Your lawyers at AVA Solicitors make it a practice of consulting with your accountant and financial advisers to ensure your estate planning factors in your assets, structures and family circumstances and pays attention to your objectives with a goal of achieving the best possible outcome.
In an ideal world, you plan your estate once and you do it right. But if that hasn’t been your experience, fear not. There is time. And there are people like us to help you through the process.
Maria has practised exclusively in the area of estate planning and estate administration since 2008 when she started her career as a trainee solicitor within a mid-tier law firm. Maria is passionate about all areas of succession law and elder law, enjoying problem-solving complex estate planning matters and assisting clients with estate administration.