For many people, the process of planning a will and then successfully actioning those plans is akin to a long walk into unchartered territory. Often referred to as estate or succession planning, the process involves many decisions about what you want to happen to your belongings after you die.
Whilst most of us might already understand what it entails, there is the potential for a whole host of questions will be raised after your passing, by your benefactors, about the legal integrity of your estate and will. This makes it all the more important to choose experienced estate planning solicitors Brisbane if you want to guarantee that what you want to happen, actually happens.
The following therefore covers some of the more important points consideration to help familiarise you with the commonly used terminology, and aspects of the process that you will meet during this process.
Firstly, you’ll need to identify an executor. The role of executor or sometimes executors is predominantly to ensure that your assets are allocated in accordance with your Will. This can for example is your eldest sibling, or if you have a small family, the involving both of your children to ensure that assets are evenly distributed amongst grandchildren is also a reasonable option.
Already, we see the potential complexities start to appear. If some of the grandchildren that you want to pass inheritance to be younger than 18 at the time of your death, then you’ll need to choose a guardian, who will responsibly look after the administration of those funds or properties until the child is legally old enough to be responsible for it.
Other complications can arise if you make a will and in-doing so choose what you want to do with your assets but, at the time of passing, you are survived by your wife or husband. In an alternative scenario, how should those assets be distributed if you aren’t survived by your spouse, but are survived by your children, or even still not survived by your spouse or any children or grandchildren?
A less common option with allocating your estate is to set up a discretionary trust which takes effect on your death. With large holdings these can be a way of protecting assets and reducing the amount of income tax that is applied to your estate.
There are of course other factors that form your total asset holding such as superannuation funds. These usually include the option to make a binding or non-binding death nomination about where the funds go when you are no longer the benefactor. Life insurance also needs to be considered, as to things such as public limited companies, and family trusts. Whilst these don’t form a part of your estate, they will continue after you are gone and therefore it is important to ensure that there are sufficient plans in place to transfer control of the assets and ensure continuity.
One final subject area worth mentioning, that often arises, is the role of the enduring power of attorney. Sadly, all too often, people live on but can become incapable of making decisions for them. The enduring power of attorney gives the responsibility of decision making to someone else whilst you are still alive and in doing so you can nominate the extent to which the decisions can be made.