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Personal & Business Lawyers

Estate Planning – Wills, Powers of Attorney & Guardianship

Estate Planning - Wills, Powers of Attorney & Guardianship

Wills Preparation Solicitors, Adelaide

Most of your life is spent working to create assets, such as your home, car, superannuation, investment properties, shares and other investments and business interests to provide the lifestyle and security you want for yourself and your family.

Having a Will in conjunction with effective estate planning (which considers legal ownership, taxation and other complex issues) is the best way to ensure that your lifetime’s work is passed on the way you intended.

I only need a simple Will. Why do I need Estate Planning?

Effective estate planning often requires more than a simple Will. In today’s world of complex and changing laws, taxation regulations, ownership structures and family relationships, a simple Will while a vital element, may not in itself be sufficient. You risk unintended consequences of your estate not being transferred in accordance with your wishes and burdened with taxation, duties and other costs.

Did you know that assets which are jointly owned, held in a trust or a superannuation fund, and death benefits and life insurance policies will pass on to the beneficiaries named within those arrangements, and will legally override the intended beneficiaries named in your will if they are different?

And did you know that a simple Will may not protect your estate’s beneficiaries from creditors and even from their former partners after a relationship breakdown?

A Testamentary Trust created within your Will, is an effective way to ensure that your estate transfers in accordance with your wishes and that your beneficiaries receive all of their benefits. Consideration to Enduring Powers of Attorney, Guardianship and Advance Care Directives are also important elements of the estate planning process, to ensure you are properly taken care of if you become incapacitated.

Here at Nick Xenophon and Co. Lawyers in Adelaide, our wills preparation solicitors are happy to work in conjunction with your accountant or financial adviser to ensure that you receive an integrated and comprehensive solution.

As we have explained, failure to undertake comprehensive estate planning could result in quite unintended outcomes.

Will

Do you have a will? No? Where will your assets that you have worked hard for, go after you pass away? Do you have family and friends that you want to leave things to?

It is a decision that many people defer. However having your affairs in order will lessen the legal and financial burden on your family at what will already be a difficult time.

The process of preparing a Will early during your lifetime offers considerable advantages. You will have the benefit of time and be in a healthy state of mind to objectively consider:

  • how you wish to pass on your assets to your family and loves ones
  • how to structure the purchase of your assets during your lifetime, with a view to minimising taxation and any other associated costs on their eventual transfer to your beneficiaries
  • seeking professional legal and/or financial advise

It can of course be revised at anytime to take account of your changed circumstances.

Home-made Wills or a Will Kits purchased you think may well suffice and be inexpensive initially. However, if ambiguous or incorrectly prepared, they can result in costs that greatly exceed any initial saving.

If you die without a Will the administration of your estate can be significantly more expensive and complex and may not be as you would choose. You may also lose the opportunity to appoint a guardian(s) of your infant children.

Nick Xenophon and Co Lawyers can prepare a Will quickly and efficiently and once signed, you can feel secure that all your assets have been left in accordance with your wishes.

Testamentary Trust

A Testamentary Trust is created in a Will as a prudent method of protecting assets and providing significant potential tax benefits to the beneficiaries. It offers significant advantages in addition to standard Will, including:

  • flexibility to beneficiaries as to when and how capital and income form their inheritance will be distributed
  • protection of beneficiaries inheritance from:
    • divorce or breakdown in a relationship
    • creditors
    • negligence claims
    • challenges to the Will
    • irresponsible spending, wastage and vulnerable activities such as gambling, addiction
    • divorce or re-marriage claims

Enduring Power of Attorney

If at some stage you lose your mental capacity whilst still alive, who will look after your finances for you? If an Enduring Power of Attorney is not in place, those close to you may incur significant expense and delay in assisting you with your affairs. In such situations, the Public Trustee is likely to be appointed to manage your affairs and consequently become a co-owner of all your assets.

You should consider having an Enduring Power of Attorney drawn up while having your Will prepared. This document gives you security in the knowledge that, when you do not have the mental capacity anymore, you will have chosen people to look after your legal and financial affairs (but not your personal and lifestyle decisions – see “Enduring Power of Guardianship or Advanced Care Directive” below). It is the best peace of mind to know that your interests are protected before anything could happen.

If you are business owner there may be other estate planning considerations. For example, your company may be unable trade if you are its sole director and you do not have a Corporate Power of Attorney in place to cover the event of your death or incapacity.

Enduring Power of Guardianship or Advanced Care Directive

If in the future you are not mentally able to make personal or lifestyle decisions in relation to your health, safety or welfare, who will decide your accommodation or what medical treatment you have?

You should consider having an Advanced care Directive drawn up while having your Will prepared. This document gives you security in the knowledge that you have chosen people to look after your affairs.

An Advanced Care Directive gives you the right to have your medical treatment, accommodation, holidays and relationship wishes documented, in case you lose the mental capacity to make such decisions. The Substitute Decision-Maker legally named in your Advanced Care Directive, will make decisions about your health and welfare in accordance with your wishes (where this can be determined), rather than impose their own views and values.

FREE Will and Estate Documents Electronic Storage

They may seem like documents you will never need, we pay insurance for most of our lives for things that may never happen, this is assurance that your wishes will be met after you pass away, or whilst you are still living but are mentally unable to make a decision.

If your Will or Estate documents are lost or misplaced and no-one can find them, they will not be effective. To give comfort that your documents will be kept in a safe place and in safe hands, we will securely store an electronic copy for you at no cost to you and give you the original for your own records.

Free No-Obligation Consultation

Some people think it might be cheaper to use a will kit than a wills preparation solicitor. However, it could cost your estate and beneficiaries a lot more in terms of money, time and stress if your will is not properly prepared or is challenged.

To give you peace of mind, our wills preparation solicitors in Adelaide are happy to talk to you on a no-obligation basis and quote you a fixed fee relevant to your situation.   Our fee will not change irrespective of how long it takes to answer your questions and take your instructions.

You will know upfront what the cost of your Will and any other associated documents will be and you will not be charged until the documents have been prepared to your satisfaction.

Call Nick Xenophon and Co. Lawyers in Adelaideto talk about your estate planning, including wills, powers of attorney and guardianship, on a no-obligation basis.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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For a lawyer in Adelaide that you can depend on, look no further than Nick Xenophon and Co. Lawyers. Our areas of expertise include personal injury and public liability claims, workers’ compensation, motor vehicle accidents, medical negligence claims, will preparation, business and commercial law, franchise law and commercial litigation.