Planning ahead is a very prudent thing to do. As soon as you start making your own living and accumulating property courtesy of your hard work or inheritance, it is important to create a plan on how that property will be run or shared if something was to happen to you. This calls for meticulous estate planning. It is a challenging process and you need to work with a wills and estates lawyer on the following details.
What is in your estate?
This is usually property under your name. The non-estate assets include assets owned as joint tenants, assets under the family discretionary trust and your self-managed superannuation fund.
Power of attorney
In case you are unable to manage your affairs in the future, it is important to choose someone you would like to do it for you. This can include making medical decisions for you. This appointment is written up in a document outlining who will inherit what after you die or who will be in charge of making decisions for your estate. For a will to be valid, a few prerequisites must be in place:
- It must declare all previous wills null and void
- The will must be written
- You must sign at the end of your will
- There must be two witnesses who will witness you sign. They will also sign in your presence and in the presence of each other. These witnesses cannot be your beneficiaries.
The will should spell out the person who will administer your estate once you die; this person is known as the executor of your estate. There are also people who can successfully dispute your will in future if they are not catered for. They include your children, stepchildren or spouses. You need a wills and estate lawyer to point out the details for you. The objective of your will is to prevent people fighting over your property and reduce the taxes that will be paid by your beneficiaries.
Getting an estate plan is not only a privilege of those who have plenty. No matter how much you have, there is a way you would want it to be administered beyond your lifetime.
It is also important to draft a new will every time there are changes in your circumstances, such as if you get married, have a child, get divorced or acquire more property.
A good wills and estate lawyer will help your loved ones live in harmony by drawing a will that limits dispute. It is important that your lawyer understands the inner intrigues in your family. These can be addressed in your will if they should be.