It’s that old saying ‘Failing to plan, is planning to fail’. Statistics from the New South Wales Trustee and Guardian suggest that 45 percent of Australians do not have a valid will.
If you die without a will, your estate is distributed in accordance with prescribed rules - which may not be consistent with your intentions. Of the 55 percent of Australians that do have a valid will, many are out of date and require amendment to reflect any changes in circumstances since the will was drafted.
Even if you have a valid will, it is important to note that the only assets you can deal with in your will are those that are legally owned by you.
A large proportion of the wealth of many family businesses is not held by individuals and will not pass in accordance with the terms of an individual’s will.
Roberts & Morrow has a dedicated specialist tax and estate planning (STEP) team headed by our in-house Tax Counsel and Partner of the firm, Paul Williams.
The team provides the ideal blend of accounting, tax and legal skills to assist clients in creating a comprehensive estate plan. The team will work in consultation with your lawyer to ensure that the various legal documents reflect your overall estate planning intentions.
“It is critical to have these conversations early,” said Paul. “By discussing your plans with loved ones and those who are beneficiaries of your estate earlier on, it will allow them to better understand your decisions and wishes.”
“In initiating these difficult family discussions, it is important to point out that an “equal” division of assets between siblings may not necessarily be a “fair” division of assets in the particular circumstances.
Transparency throughout the estate planning process and feedback from the beneficiaries will also allow you to identify any anomalies or oversights - thereby reducing the risk of your estate being dwindled away in costly litigation after your death.”
If you want peace of mind about your future financial security take the time to talk to a qualified adviser that understands the challenges faced by people living in regional Australia.
For further information contact (02) 6768 1111.