Plain legal checklist:
Does your will pass on your assets as you wish?
Does your will distribute your wealth tax efficiently?
Have you recorded the medical treatment you do/don’t want to be given in a health directive?
Have you appointed someone to handle your finances if you can’t?
Have you appointed someone to make lifestyle choices if you can’t?
Is your superannuation and insurance passed to those you need to support?
What is the difference between a will and estate plan?
For some people, few assets may be subject to their will. Your home may go directly to your spouse, your superannuation may to your spouse or children and life insurance may be paid to a nominated person. So, it may leave relatively low value bank balances as the financial assets passed through your will.
An estate plan considers how all your property and other assets will be dealt with when you die. An estate plan can include structuring your assets before or after you die to better ensure they are left to the people you choose.
An enduring power of attorney allows you to give someone power to make certain financial and legal decisions when you are unable to, for example when overseas or unwell.
An enduring power of guardianship allows you to give someone power to make personal, lifestyle and health decisions for you.
An advanced health directive allows you to document what health treatment you do or don’t want. You should consult your lawyer and doctor when preparing an advanced health directive.
The parts of an estate plan need to work together and should be drafted to avoid conflict. Your lawyer should work with you, your doctor, financial planner and other professionals in developing an estate plan.
Why have lawyers draft my will?
Your will records how you want your property and other assets dealt with when you die. Because it is your document, we consider it is important that it is easy for you to read. We aim to write out wills in plain language so that it is easier to understand.
The fee you pay a lawyer to draft your will is an investment in ensuring your assets go to the right people, children or grandchildren are provided for and excess tax is not paid.
A will kit can be economical and effective. However, if not completed correctly or if there are issues with the signing or witnessing there can be delay and cost.
Care is required where those receiving your assets are bankrupt, run their own business, children or in the case of former marriages and relationships.