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What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is the process of arranging your affairs to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after your death. It also involves planning for your future health care and financial decisions in case you become incapacitated. Estate planning is more than just drafting a Will, although a Will is an essential part of it.

A Will is a legal document that specifies who will inherit your property and how it will be divided. It also allows you to appoint an executor, who is the person responsible for carrying out your instructions and administering your estate. A Will can also include other provisions, such as naming a guardian for your minor children, creating a trust for your beneficiaries, or leaving a gift to a charity or establishing your own charitable trust or philanthropic foundation.

However, a Will only covers the assets that you own in your own name when you die. It does not cover assets that are jointly owned with someone else, such as a house or a bank account. It also does not cover assets that have a nominated beneficiary, such as a superannuation fund or a life insurance policy. These assets will pass directly to the joint owner or the beneficiary, regardless of what your Will says. Superannuation requires a nomination of a beneficiary or sometimes a reversionary pensioner nomination. Estate Planning carefully considers the positives and negatives of who you nominate as a beneficiary for superannuation of life insurances and the best way to do so. Careful estate planning can create an outcome whereby superannuation and life insurances are directed to your Estate and then dealt with by your Will.

Estate planning is important. It allows you to consider all aspects of your personal and financial situation and create a comprehensive plan that reflects your goals and values. Estate planning can help you to:

  • Minimise tax and legal fees for your estate and your beneficiaries
  • Protect your assets from creditors, lawsuits, or family disputes
  • Provide for your dependants and ensure their financial security
  • Avoid or reduce the risk of challenges to your Will
  • Express your wishes regarding your medical treatment and end-of-life care
  • Appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf if you lose capacity

Estate planning is not a one-off exercise. It should be reviewed and updated regularly, especially when there are changes in your circumstances, such as marriage, divorce, birth of a child, death of a beneficiary, or acquisition of new assets.

Estate planning is not only for the wealthy or the elderly. It is relevant for anyone who cares about their loved ones and wants to have control over their legacy. Every South Australian needs a Will, regardless of their age or wealth. Without a Will, your estate will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy, which may not reflect your wishes or suit your family’s needs.

If you want to ensure that your estate planning is done properly and professionally, you should consult an experienced estate lawyer who can advise you on the best options for your situation. At SA Estate and Succession Lawyers we can help you to draft a valid and effective Will that complies with the legal requirements and avoids potential pitfalls.

Estate planning is not something that you should put off until later. It is a vital step in securing your future and protecting your family. By taking action now, you can have peace of mind that you have done everything possible to make things easier for the people who are important to you when you are gone and establish the sort of legacy you would like to leave.

I would like to start a will

So you’ve decided to start a will. Wise move. We can help you get started. Please complete the form below noting that all fields are required. We will then email you a Will pack which includes a form that we would like you to complete as fully as possible.