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Estate Planning

Estate planning

One of the greatest gifts you can give to your loved ones is a professionally prepared Will that clearly and precisely states your wishes upon your passing.

Why do I need a Will?

A properly drafted, up-to-date will is the only way you can be sure your assets will be dealt with and your loved ones cared for in the way you choose. By having a legally prepared Will, it could also reduce the likelihood of any estate disputes or a person challenging your Will. It can save tremendous anxiety and conflicts within your family of your loved ones.

Every person should have an up-to-date and valid Will. Making your Will with us is quicker and easier than you might think.

Benefits of a Turner Freeman Lawyers legal Will

A Will that is invalid because it was not properly written or properly signed can cause as many headaches after your death as if you had no Will at all. A Will that has been prepared by a solicitor is much less likely to be challenged successfully.

At Turner Freeman, a specialist Wills & Estate solicitor will advise you on any legal issues that may affect your estate. For example there may be issues relating to taxation or you may wish to exclude someone from a share of your estate. Your solicitor will discuss with you the possible legal consequences of your Will to give you peace of mind knowing you have left your estate as you wish.

Appointing an executor

A Will prepared by the Turner Freeman Lawyers Wills & Estates department provides you and your family professional and genuine security. We can help you with effective succession planning to ensure your assets are protected and distributed to the right people according to your exact wishes. Under a Will, the legally appointed executor will look after your estate and will ensure that they collect all your assets, pay your debts and distribute your estate according to your Will after your passing.

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Frequently asked questions

Why do I need a Will?

A Will is a legal document which sets out how you wish your estate, property, money and personal items to be distributed when you pass away. It has no validity or effect before you die. It is not just a document for people who are wealthy or who own real estate. Anyone ages 18 or more can make a Will provided they are of sound mind; and everyone should.

Your Will also appoints an executor to oversee this process.

If some of the people whom you want to receive a share of your estate are not yet 18 years of age, you can make provision for them while they are still children and your executor/s can look after their entitlements until they are adults.

If you have a favourite charity or cause you support, your Will can give you the opportunity to make a gift to that charity or organisation or even make a provision for the care of a beloved pet.

What happens if I pass away without a valid Will?

What happens if I pass away without a valid Will?

If you pass away and do not leave a valid Will you are deemed to have died ‘intestate.’  Your estate is then distributed in accordance with the laws of intestacy in force at the date of your death. These strict rules dictated by legislation operate without any regard to what your personal preference may have been. The beneficiaries of your estate will depend on whether you are married, in a de facto relationship or have children.

In addition, if you don’t leave a valid Will, the cost, uncertainty and worry for your loved ones in finalising your affairs, will increase. It also means that legal rules (called ‘rules of intestacy’) automatically apply to your estate. These may result in your estate being left to people whom you do not wish to benefit from it and may mean that people you would like to benefit, miss out. For example, friends, charities and some relatives cannot benefit under the rules of intestacy.

How do I make a Will?

How do I make a Will?

No matter the size of your estate you should consider making a Will, if you are over the age of 18 (or under the age of 18, if married) and are of sound mind, memory and understanding. 

A court can also approve a Will being made for someone who cannot legally make a Will themselves.  For example if someone has lost their mental capacity to make a Will, but it is known how they wanted their property distributed, a court can authorise a will to be made for them so that the property goes as they wish and not in accordance with the laws of intestacy.

It is important to consider potential claimants at the time of drafting your will as it may be possible to restructure assets and investments or carefully draft your will to reduce or restrict potential claims against your estate.

What is involved in making or preparing a Will?

What is involved in making or preparing a Will?

The process of making a Will involves an examination of your assets and liabilities and your personal circumstances. We also look at ways to maximise the estate your beneficiary/s receive upon your passing by way of a Testamentary Discretionary Trust (TDT).

Should I include a Testamentary Discretionary Trust (TDT) in the Will?

What is a Testamentary Discretionary Trust (TDT)?

A Testamentary Discretionary Trust (TDT) is a trust that is written into your Will and provides your beneficiaries with asset protection, flexibility and tax effectiveness. It is a trust that does not take effect until your death.

It is also a trust where the trustee/s have complete discretion to distribute capital and income of the trust to the beneficiaries nominated.

What are the advantages of a Testamentary Discretionary Trust?

A TDT is highly desirable, if you have a beneficiary in your Will who:

  • Has a disability
  • Suffers from an addiction
  • Is poor at handling his/her finances
  • Practices in a profession which has a high risk of litigation
  • Is in a high tax bracket; or
  • Has a history of bankruptcy

By gifting your estate to these beneficiaries by way of a TDT, you can protect their inheritance from future loss. e.g. Where the beneficiary is facing bankruptcy, matrimonial problems or has limited capacity to manage their own finances.

You appoint a Trustee/s who are in control of the Trust. This is generally the beneficiary of the Trust, but can also be a third party if the beneficiary has limited capacity to manage their own finances. By appointing an independent trustee, greater protection can be offered to the beneficiary/s as the beneficiary/s do not have an absolute, or direct right to the assets of the trust. The Trustee will have complete discretion as to how the capital and income of the Trust are distributed to the beneficiary/s.

The beneficiaries of the trust have the protection from proceedings arising from marriage or relationship breakdown or bankruptcy, as the assets in the trust are not legally owned by the beneficiaries, but are instead owned by the trust.

How often should I review my Will?

How often should I review my Will?

A Will should be reviewed every 3 – 5 years or as soon as your personal or financial circumstances change. Marriage, separation, children, property investment or establishing a company to run your business are all good reasons to review your Will.

SERVICES

Our Wills & Estates Services

Our dedicated team of experts can assist you in all of the following areas
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Making a Will

We can help you prepare a legal Will to ensure your loved ones and beneficiaries are provided for as you wish.

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Powers of Attorney

Powers of Attorney are formal legal documents that give someone else the power to make decisions for you on your behalf.

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Advance Health Directive

It is a document that allows you to give directions as to your future health care that will take effect after you lose capacity to make the decision yourself.

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Estate Administration

We can help you by ensuring your loved one’s estate matters are handled quickly and efficiently during a difficult time by assisting the executor of the Will.

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Estate Litigation / Will Disputes

If you have been unfairly left out of a Will or left with an unfair share we can help you dispute, contest or challenge the Will to ensure you receive all that you deserve.

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Superannuation claims

If you are contesting a Will, part of that process might also include to challenge a superannuation payout if part of an insurance policy of the person who passed away.

Estate Planning Enquiry

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