What would happen if you lost your life today? Your first thought is probably of your family's welfare. Estate planning is one of the best ways to protect your family's interests once you die. Read the extract below for some estate planning tips.
Work with an Experienced Wills and Estates Lawyer
Your wills and estates lawyer can provide you with helpful advice when writing your will. For instance, he or she will ensure that the document is legally binding. In Australia, wills should be written by people above 18 years who are of sound mental health. The testator must also sign each page in the presence of two witnesses.
Various conditions may force you to rectify your will. For instance, if one of the beneficiaries dies, if you divorce or remarry or when you acquire additional assets. The lawyer will help you amend the will through a codicil.
Beneficiaries below 18 years may be unable to manage their newfound wealth. As such, you could opt to place their inheritance under a trust. Their wealth is managed by a trustee, who must bequeath the property once the beneficiary comes of age. The trustee should be someone you trust, such as your spouse. Some banks and law firms also manage trusts on behalf of their clients. If you choose to work with a corporate trustee, be sure to inquire about the management process and costs.
Beneficiary forms will automatically transfer money, stocks or shares to a beneficiary once you die. It is an easy way to avail cash for funeral expenses and immediate needs, such as food, to your family once you pass on.
The Living Will
A living will is a document explaining what should be done when you become medically incapacitated. For instance, would you want to be plugged into or pulled out of a life support machine? Closely associated with the living will is the power of attorney. This is a legal right given to somebody to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf.
Protect your Business
Create a succession plan to eliminate the possibility of a power vacuum in your business once you pass on. For instance, you could groom one of your children or your spouse to take over the company during such periods. It is a sure way to improve customer confidence, grow your brand image and ensure the longevity of the enterprise.
Estate planning can be a long process. However, it is the only way to avoid family disputes and secure your legacy once you pass away. Work closely with your wills and estates lawyer to ensure everything is done within the constraints of the law.Share