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Estate Planning Equation – Preventative Law
Level 13, 200 Queen St,
Melbourne Vic 3000
+613 8600 6906
Areas of Practice
Assets are usually acquired to benefit people during their lifetime. An important part of ESTATE PLANNING is to ensure that when a person dies, their wealth passes to benefit their intended beneficiaries and their estate planning documents such as Wills and binding death benefit nominations give effect to their particular circumstances and needs.
Many Australians have businesses, investment and lifestyle assets held in different structures such as their personal name, trusts or superannuation funds and think that a "standard" Will deals with all entities. Whilst a Will deals with one's personally owned "estate" assets, superannuation and trust assets do not necessarily form part of one's estate and thus may not be directly dealt with via a Will. Consideration should be given to the other necessary strategies to transition the wealth owned in such structures.
At Estate Planning Equation - Preventative Law, we provide advice and implementation of estate planning strategies having regard to a client's individual circumstances and objectives. We assist with:
- Assessing the type of Will suitable for the individual, including whether testamentary or protective trusts are appropriate;
- Business succession, transition and transfer of business ownership to the next generation on death having regard to the structure of the business;
- Mitigating the risk of a challenge to a Will by hostile parties;
- Preparing binding death benefit nominations in respect of superannuation death benefits; and
- Preparation of powers of attorney in respect of financial, medical and lifestyle decisions which operate during one's lifetime.
Sharon and John have a blended family. They have no children together but each have two children from previous relationships. They each wish to ensure the survivor has sufficient wealth when one of them passes away and when both have passed away, they wish to each equally benefit their respective children. Sharon and John have a business they operate together via a family discretionary trust and their business premises is owned via their self-managed superannuation fund of which they are the only members. In ensuring that the survivor and children are provided for, some issues they should consider are:
- The structure of their Wills, and whether they wish to limit the survivor's access to an income stream or allow full access to capital;
- Their executors who will be in control of the financial and administration of the estate and whether third party executors are necessary;
- Succession of the trust, ie who they wish to benefit their business with – whether it is to be divided equally amongst all the children, pass to one or more children, or liquidated;
- The use of binding death benefit nominations to ensure that superannuation death benefits pass in a tax-effective and appropriate manner; and
- Estate challenge risk if there is not to be an equal division amongst the children.