Estate planning means arranging your affairs so as to minimise the problems that may be caused both while you are fit, healthy and solvent and also in case of various misfortunes, including:
- Legal claims against you (e.g., liability as a partner or director)
- Marriage/de facto relationship breakdown
- Temporary or permanent incapacity
Such problems can include:
- Paying more tax than you need to while you are alive
- Loss of eligibility for governmental assistance
- Confiscation of assets
- Inability to access your bank account or to manage your business or other assets in case of your incapacity or death
- Insufficient income to meet the present and future needs of yourself, your family or your business in case of incapacity or death
- Distribution of your assets otherwise than as you would wish in case of death
- Unforeseen tax and stamp duty consequences of disposal of your assets in case of incapacity or death
Plan now – review later
Estate planning is not something that you can do once for all time. Every plan needs to be prepared with both present circumstances and future intentions and possibilities in mind. Then it should be reviewed at least once a year and adjusted to suit changing circumstances and requirements. Flexibility of your plan is important.
It is also important to understand that, whilst you may plan for what you know, intend and foresee, unexpected events may lead to unintended outcomes. Thus, whilst we do our best to ensure that your aims are achieved, we cannot guarantee that they will be.
To begin preparing your estate plan we need a summary of your present circumstances and your future intentions, including:
- Your assets and liabilities
- Your dependents
- Your future plans for yourself and your dependents Estate planning instruments
When we know your present circumstances and future plans, we can consider what would be the position in the situations listed above. In each case we analyse the likely effects of the event on you, your dependents and your assets and consider how we can optimise the position by use of a variety of estate planning instruments, including:
- Powers of attorney
- Companies, partnerships and trusts
- Options and other buyout arrangements
- Enduring guardianship
Naturally, what is suitable for some circumstances may not be appropriate for others. In such cases it may be necessary to decide between competing priorities or to make compromises. Our aim is to explain the issues and alternatives to you so that you can make informed decisions.
We attach a checklist of matters to be taken into account in preparing your estate plan. Please complete it and bring it with you when you come to see us.