Estate Planning

Estate Planning is an integral part of your ability to provide for the ones you love as well as to protect your wealth for future generations.

Everyone over the age of 18 years regardless of their family circumstances and net wealth needs a detailed Estate Plan. Not having the appropriate Estate Planning in place, can lead to unnecessary costs (both financial and emotional) and it can also increase the probability of family disputes over your Estate upon your death. No one wants to see their hard earned money/wealth end up in the hands of Lawyers and in the Court system because of disputing families.

You have the ability  now to decide to whom and how you want your wealth is to be distributed. There is no better time than today, to start your Estate Planning! Below is a short rundown on the types of matters ACL-Law can assist you with:

Advanced Health DirectivesAn Advance Health Directive is a document that states your wishes or directions regarding your future health care for various medical conditions. It comes into effect only if you are unable to make your own decisions. You may wish your directive to apply at any time when you are unable to decide for yourself, or you may want it to apply only if you are terminally ill.

Legal Guardian DossierMost parents have strong views and beliefs as to how they want their child/ren raised. When you appoint a Legal Guardian you are entrusting that the guardian will  instill the same values and beliefs in your child that you would. By preparing a Legal Guardian Dossier you are able to specifically set out how you want your child/ren raised, including but not limited to:

  • what type of education they are to receive;
  • any religious requirements;
  • where the child is to live and in the lifestyle they are to live;
  • any particular health care needs/treatment for the child; and
  • any other general information you wish to convey to the Legal Guardian.Whilst the Legal Guardian is not bound to follow your wishes it will at least give the Legal Guardian some guidance as to how you want your child/ren to be raised. Without this document the Legal Guardian may not know where to begin.

Executor DossierThis is an effective and highly useful document which sets out your current asset and liability position, family background as well as providing directions and/or wishes to your Executor. Whilst your Executor is not bound to follow your wishes it will at least giving the Executor some guidance as to what you want. Without this document the Executor may not know where to begin.  

Business Succession PlanningThere are so many things to think about when you are in business. Often your focus is on immediate issues and not long-term issues such as what is to happen to the business upon your death. If you do not have the appropriate structures / measures in place, control of your business upon your death could land in the hands of someone you do not want.   

Estate Planning is not only about planning for the succession of your personal wealth but also for your business.  Business succession planning is the process of arranging your business affairs now to minimize the impact upon your business should the unexpected happen. It is an integral part of your Estate Planning. If you do not get it right, all your hard earned wealth could be lost.

It’s never too late to get the structure of your asset ownership right, to ensure you are better prepared to maximise your wealth and implement your business succession plans. For an affordable fixed fee, we at ACL-Law can undertake a complete review of your current business/structure and provide you with recommendations of how you can best prepare for the future of your business.

Enduring Power of AttorneysAn Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) is an important legal document that allows you to appoint someone to make personal and/or financial decisions on your behalf. 

You may not always be able to make decisions when you need to. You may be too ill to make choices about your medical treatment, or you could suffer a disability that prevents you from communicating your wishes to others. 

The advantage of an EPOA is that you will have chosen who you would like to make decisions on your behalf and when those decisions can be made (i.e. immediately, or for a particular duration of time or upon your loss of capacity). Preparing an EPOA now will save your loved ones a lot of unnecessary stress and expense (an application to QCAT would be needed, see above) if something where to happen to you and you did not have an EPOA.

Special Disability TrustsSpecial Disability Trust (SDT) is a special type of trust that allows parents and immediate family members to plan for current and future needs of a person with severe disability.  The trust can pay for reasonable care, accommodation and other discretionary needs of the beneficiary during their lifetime. If set up properly, SDT will allow the named beneficiary to preserve their government entitlements, which are currently means tested. An SDT in certain circumstances (provided the value of the assets held in the SDT are below the threshold) will be exempt from the means test. This often gives families peace of mind and confidence that on-going financial support will be available for loved ones who require additional support and assistance. Strict rules apply to SDT and they are heavily regulated. Contact us today to discuss whether an SDT would be appropriate in your situation.

SMSFEvery SMSF is slightly different. To have an effective Estate Plan you need to ensure that your SMSF is compliant with the recent amendments to the Superannuation laws. Many SMSFs which predate 2016 do not comply.  It is very important to ensure that your SMSF complies with the legislative amendments as this is the document that gives the Trustee the authority to take action. If the Trustee were to undertake an action without the authority of the Trust Deed, because the SMSF was out of date, they could risk:

  • acting on invalid / out of date authorities;
  • loss of tax benefits – e.g. if they attempt to commence a particular pension without the power in the deed; or
  • the wrong beneficiaries receiving death benefits because of invalid documentation (e.g. death benefit nominations not being valid).

For an affordable fixed fee, we are able to undertake a full review of your SMSF to ensure that your SMSF is compliant with the current laws and regulations as well as provide you with recommended amendments (if any) if your SMSF is not compliant. We are also able to closely work with your financial adviser to ensure that you have a tailored and streamline Estate Plan. Contact us today to discuss your SMSF.

Superannuation Death Benefit NominationsOrdinarily, superannuation does not form part of your Estate, which means it is not automatically covered by your WillSpecific rules apply to superannuation death benefit entitlements including who can make a claim for the benefits and who can be a nominated recipient of the entitlements. Not all persons are eligible recipients of superannuation death benefit entitlements.  This means specific steps need to be taken, as part of your overall Estate Planning, to ensure that your superannuation ends up with the person/s you intend to benefit (provided they are an eligible recipient). 

Call us to discuss who would be an eligible recipient of your superannuation death benefit entitlement.

Last WillAt ACL-Law we pride ourselves on providing you with the very best tools and strategies to put in place now to avoid your Estate being disputed later. Although you are unable to control the ultimate outcome (i.e. controlling beyond the grave) you can put into place a number of wishes, directions and measures to ensure your in wishes are carried out and your Estate runs as smoothly as possible to protect the ones you love and what matters.

At ACL-Law there is no Estate that is is too small or to large. We are able to prepare a Will that will be tailored to your particular circumstances. We are experts in preparing:

Simple Wills.

(i.e. leaving everything to your partner and if you both die. to your children equally);

  • Complex Wills (i.e. having multiple gifts to multiple beneficiaries, dealing with  blended families, including options for specified beneficiaries to purchase Estate property);
  • Testamentary Trusts within a Will;
  • Codicils (i.e. a minor amendment to your Will without the need for the preparation of new Will;
  • Memorandum of Wishes (i.e. a document which sets out your wishes, directions and reasons to your  Executor regarding the drafting of particular documents and the distribution of your Estate); and
  • Mutual Wills Agreements.

Effective Estate Planning is not an isolated process,  it involves crafting a complex web to ensure that ALL assets and your hard earned wealth are captured and end up in the hands of  your loved ones and those who you want to benefit. There is no better time than today to start your Estate Planning.

Contact us now to see how we can assist you.