Personal estate planning, like business succession planning, is all about planning for the future.
We have worked hard during our working lives to acquire the assets that we have built and want to make sure that is passed to our loved ones. Unfortunately, as we age many of us will lose mental capacity to deal with our assets, and all of us will eventually pass. Having a personal estate plan that takes into account your business succession planning is vital to ensure your hard earned assets go to the people that you want them to.
We can assist you by taking a holistic approach and examining your personal and business relationships, their inter-relationship with your assets and by drafting appropriate estate planning documents such as Shareholder Agreements, Wills and Enduring Powers of Attorney.
The following questions are most commonly asked by our clients when considering their estate planning needs.
An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) document is vital in your estate plan as it allows for someone nominated by you to look after your financial and health affairs, should you not have the capacity to do so. It is called enduring as it endures or survives the loss of capacity which the former General Power of Attorney did not. It is particularly important as we age particularly with the prevalence of age related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Many people prefer to delay the making of an EPA as they are concerned that they are giving away too much power. The danger with this approach is that the making of an EPA requires a higher level of mental capacity than that to make a Will. There are also some strategies around protecting you from a wayward attorney which we are happy to discuss with you.
Your Will covers your personal assets only. It is therefore vital that your structures, assets and liabilities are discussed in detail to ensure that your personal assets are dealt with under your Will and that plans are made to deal with your other structures, for example companies, trusts and self-managed superannuation. The distribution of your superannuation and life insurance to your proposed beneficiaries would be determined on what nominations you have made and how they are made. We are happy to discuss strategies to best protect your beneficiaries.
Immediately. None of us plan to die and happens suddenly if an accident or trauma such as a heart attack or stroke. As we get older our legal capacity to make a will may also diminish as a result of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia. We recommend that you act now and ensure, to the extent possible, that your hard earned assets pass to your loved ones.
You are deemed to have passed on “intestate” or without a Will and accordingly, you assets will be distributed as per a formula within the Succession Act, which in more cases than not, will not reflect your true intentions.