Estate Planning

Estate planning involves developing a strategy to manage your assets after you die – the legal instruments and structures, such as a will, you put in place to transfer your assets in the event of death.

Drawing up or revising a will is not something most people like to think about, however it is an important part of life no matter what your age – especially if you have a variety of assets and/or investments.

Tax is a major consideration in estate planning, and strong governance relating to the tax aspects of estate administration can help manage the risks.

The advisers at Hejaz financial services are equipped with the knowledge and expertise to advise you in this highly technical and strategic area of wealth management.

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If you do not have a Will, then on your death the rules of intestacy may apply.  This may mean that your assets are not left to people as you wish.

For example, if you are survived by a spouse and children, then the rules of intestacy provide that the spouse will receive $150,000 plus household chattels and then 1/3 of the rest of the estate.  The remaining 2/3 of the rest of the estate will be distributed equally between the deceased’s children.

It is important to understand that a ‘spouse’ may not just be someone you are married to or someone you have lived with for a specific period of time.

Not all assets form part of the estate. Any property owned as joint tenants will automatically pass to the survivor. This may include real property, joint bank accounts and joint shares.

Superannuation may also fall outside the estate.  If the deceased has made a valid binding nomination, then the superannuation fund will pay the superannuation to the person nominated and bypass the estate.

Similarly to superannuation, if the deceased had nominated a beneficiary of any life insurance policy, then any payment would be made directly to the nominated beneficiary and not form part of the estate.

If you believe your estate has a high risk of a challenge, you should seek expert legal advice as soon as possible, particularly if you live or own assets in New South Wales.

Depending on the level of risk, it might be advantageous to restructure your assets so that fewer assets will form part of your estate when you die. In some circumstances this can reduce the prospects of a challenge being successful and even prevent a challenge.

If you plan to leave only a small or no gift to someone who can challenge your estate, it is important to prepare additional documentation as part of your estate planning. These documents can be very helpful in defending any claim that is brought. Unfortunately they can also be damaging, so it is important that they are prepared correctly.

You should also carefully consider your choice of executor. If a dispute arises, your executor will play a very important role in managing and dealing with it, including representing your estate in court proceedings if that becomes necessary. Particularly, you should avoid appointing an executor who you think might challenge your Will, as this will place them in a position of conflict and potentially increase the costs of what is an already expensive process.If you believe your estate has a high risk of a challenge, you should seek expert legal advice as soon as possible, particularly if you live or own assets in New South Wales.

Depending on the level of risk, it might be advantageous to restructure your assets so that fewer assets will form part of your estate when you die. In some circumstances this can reduce the prospects of a challenge being successful and even prevent a challenge.

If you plan to leave only a small or no gift to someone who can challenge your estate, it is important to prepare additional documentation as part of your estate planning. These documents can be very helpful in defending any claim that is brought. Unfortunately they can also be damaging, so it is important that they are prepared correctly.

You should also carefully consider your choice of executor. If a dispute arises, your executor will play a very important role in managing and dealing with it, including representing your estate in court proceedings if that becomes necessary. Particularly, you should avoid appointing an executor who you think might challenge your Will, as this will place them in a position of conflict and potentially increase the costs of what is an already expensive process.

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