Who should have an estate plan?
If you are over the age of 18 & own anything (even Superannuation) – you should have an Estate Plan. If you have children, or own your own business, it’s absolutely essential that you have a plan for what happens when you pass away
How can we help?
Our expert team of estate planners have the unique blend of personality and experience to provide innovative solutions for your personal & professional future. We will collaborate with you to understand your estate planning needs and create a plan tailored specifically to you. Whether you need a Standard or Testamentary Trust Will or Enduring Power of Attorney (or both), we can help.
A standard will is a legal document that states who will inherit your assets and belongings after you pass away.
Your will can cover things like:
- how you want your assets shared
- who will look after your children
- any trusts you want to set up
- how much money you’d like to give to charities
- plans for your funeral.
It’s important to have an up-to-date will. If you die without one, the law decides who will get your assets — and this may not be in accordance with your wishes.
A standard will does not, however, offer any asset protection or tax minimisation benefits regarding the distribution of your estate.
Enduring Power of Attorney
An enduring power of attorney (EPA) allows you to appoint someone you trust (i.e., an attorney or attorneys) to make decisions for you during your lifetime.
An attorney can make decisions about:
- Personal (including health) matters, relating to decisions about support services, where and with whom you live, health care and other legal matters that do not relate to your financial or property matters.
- Financial matters, which relate to decisions about your financial or property affairs such as paying expenses, making investments, selling property (including your home) and carrying on a business.
Having an EPA in place gives you the comfort of knowing that if something does happen to you, someone you trust has the legal authority to make the decisions that need to be made.
Please note: Signing away your financial life can be dangerous – access to money can do funny things to people – even the ones you love.
Letter of Wishes
A letter of wishes is a document drawn up to accompany your will. It provides guidance for the people dealing with your estate and/or any trusts that are to be set up after you die.
Some examples of what to include in a letter of wishes:
- the funeral you want
- details of how you would like your personal items to be distributed after your death
- guidance on how you would like any money to be managed
- details relating to the main beneficiaries of any trusts you have
- advice for guardians on how to raise your children.
Please note: A letter of wishes is not legally binding.
A testamentary trust is a trust set up in a will that starts only when the will-maker dies. It is a highly effective estate-planning tool.
The main benefits of testamentary trusts are their ability to protect assets and to reduce tax paid by beneficiaries from income earned from the inheritance.
Other benefits include:
- Bankruptcy protection
- Relationship protection
- Protects immature beneficiaries
- Enables the will-maker to ‘rule from the grave’
- Defers tax for overseas beneficiaries.
You need a Testamentary Trust if:
- You are leaving at least $500,000 (including superannuation and life insurance) to one or more people
- It is important to you that the inheritance is protected from relationship risks e.g., divorce or separation
- You want to protect the inheritance from bankruptcy risks
- You are leaving assets to a beneficiary who cannot be trusted to manage their inheritance appropriately
Safe Custody refers to the safe and secure storage of your important estate planning documents.
At CMB Lawyers, we are happy to store your will, EPA, and any other legal documents (that you cannot afford to lose) in a locked, fire-proof safe. The document(s) belong to you, can be uplifted any time, and are stored purely for your benefit. It’s a secure, optional, and free service we offer to our clients.
Consider which estate planning package would best suit your circumstances and get in touch with us to arrange an appointment.
We will gather the information with you, draft and review your documents and then sign, seal, and store your documents.