Estate Planning

10 Essential Elements for Estate Planning

Every Family is Different

Estate planning is not just making a new will. It’s the process of arranging your affairs for the rest of your life and following your death.

  • In Estate Planning, your individual family circumstances including home ownership, business ownership or employment, and any existing will needs to be considered.
  • Where you own your home as joint tenants, if one of you dies, it passes by survivorship to the other and does not form part of the deceased’s estate.
  • This works well for a first marriage.
  • However in a blended family, in order to preserve wealth within a bloodline, ownership as tenants in common of the primary residence may alternatively be used. Although the ratio of ownership does not have to be 50/50, it is generally expected that it will be. The tenants in common methodology can be used as a method of confirming the contribution of the bloodlines at the start of the relationship.

Tax Planning and Discretionary Trusts

  • If you are running or starting a business today, you might be advised to establish a discretionary family trust and let that trust effectively trade as the business, rather than you holding the shares personally. To do this, you would establish a corporate trustee and that trustee would effectively hold all the shares in the business.
  • Although there is no longer any stamp duty on the transfer of shares, the main concern with establishing a discretionary trust is Capital Gains Tax (CGT).
  • It is important to review and revise your will as part of the estate planning process to ensure it is up to date. It needs to be remembered, however, that this is only a part of the process.

Enduring Power of Attorney

  • We recommend you consider executing an Enduring Power of Attorney for personal and/or financial matters, and a Medical Treatment Decision Maker document to ensure that in the event you are affected by sudden illness or injury that causes you to become unable to make your own decisions, you have authorised a person you trust to make those decisions for you.

Working with Your Accountant

  • We consult with your accountant during the estate planning process to ensure that the plan meets your financial needs.
  • Contact us on (03) 5181 6363 to discuss your particular situation and your family’s needs.