Estate Planning

What is Estate Planning?

Believe it or not, you have an estate. In fact, almost everyone does. Everything you own is included in your estate, including your car, house, other real estate, bank accounts, investments, life insurance, furnishings, and personal belongings. Everyone has an estate, no matter how large or small, and they all have one thing in common: we won’t be able to take it with us when we pass away.
Creating a Will
Your will is the central part of any estate plan. It sets out how you want your assets to be distributed. They’re necessary because they allow you to express your wishes clearly and accurately.

Working closely with an attorney to establish and revise your will is recommended.

Without a Will
Without a will, the state in which you live determines how your assets are distributed to your beneficiaries based on its rules. This is known as dying intestate, and the settlement process that follows may not generate the outcomes you want for your survivors. You can avoid this by having paperwork prepared that represent your preferences.

The will’s contents
 
A will usually contains the following items:

  • Designation of an executor
  • Who is responsible for carrying out the terms of the will.
  • Beneficiaries – people who will inherit the assets.
  • How-to instructions
Assigning a power of attorney
Assigning a power of attorney operates in situations where you are unable to make decisions for yourself and are suffering from either a temporary or permanent legal incapacity.

  1. General power of attorney
  2. A general power of attorney allows you (the principal) to select someone you trust (an attorney) to make financial decisions for you while you are unable to make such decisions yourself.

  3. Medical power of attorney
  4. A medical power of attorney, also known as a healthcare proxy, appoints someone to make medical decisions for you if you lose mental capacity. Your agent is the person you pick to make health-care choices on your behalf when you are unable to.

    Any competent adult can act as your agent, but some states have restrictions: your physician or health care provider; an employee of your physician or health care provider (unless the employee is a relative); your residential health care provider (a nursing home, for example); and an employee of your residential health care provider (unless the employee is your relative). In some places, if someone has any of the aforementioned designations, they are unable to act as your agent for the purposes of a medical power of attorney.

  5. Enduring power of attorney

An adult can make an enduring power of attorney authorising a specific person or individual/s to make decisions for them as long as they have the mental capacity to do so.

As long as they have the necessary decision-making capacity, an adult can withdraw an enduring power of attorney and create a new enduring power of attorney at any time.

Under an enduring power of attorney, the attorney can make judgments regarding personal affairs during any or all of the adult’s periods of incapacity for the matter, but not otherwise.

Under an enduring power of attorney, the attorney can exercise the right to make financial decisions at any time or in any condition.

Creating a testamentary trust
A testamentary trust is established in a person’s will and begins after they pass away. It holds and protects the person’s assets, such as property and investments, in whole or in part. The people or organisations who will benefit from the trust are known as beneficiaries. The assets of the beneficiaries are managed by the trust.
Where to find an Estate planning lawyer

Finding a great estate planning lawyer is easy with the Australian Lawyers Directory. By simply putting in your postcode, you will find a list of accredited estate planning lawyers to choose from that are in your local area.

Estate Planning Checklist

It’s important to start arranging your estate now in order to safeguard yourself and your loved ones. While a will is one component, there are other assets that your will does not cover by default. As a result, we’ve compiled an estate planning checklist for Australian residents to guarantee you’re protected.

You can get our FREE Estate planning checklist here.

Where Is the Safest Place to Store Estate Planning Documents?

It’s crucial to figure out where you’ll keep your estate planning documents. Why? Because you want it to be simple for someone to locate them when you pass away. A trusted relative or friend should be informed of their whereabouts, regardless of where you put them.
Money Mechanics Estate

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