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Estate Planning Considerations

1     Do you have a Will?


a)    When was the last time you reviewed it to determine whether it is up to date?

b)    Have your circumstances changed since your Will was prepared for example marriage, divorce, children, acquisition or sale of a business or other investment? If so, it may be worthwhile for you to review your Will.

c)    Did you prepare your Will or did a competent legal practitioner prepare it? If you prepared it yourself, you may wish to consider having it reviewed by a competent legal practitioner who can advise as to its validity and compliance with your testamentary intentions and as to the likely effect of capital gains tax.  


d)    Are you aware as to what happens to your estate if you die without a Will?

e)    If you have minor children, have you considered what will happen to them if you and your spouse both die? A will can deal with guardianship of minor children.  


f)    It is prudent to prepare a new Will that replaces any prior Wills.

2     Do you have a discretionary (family) trust?


a)    Does your discretionary (family) trust own any assets?

b)    Did you know the Will is unable to deal with assets in a discretionary (family) trust?

c)    Who is the trustee of the discretionary (family) trust?

d)    Who is the Appointor of the discretionary (family) trust? The Appointor is the controller of the discretionary (family) trust and the person who ultimately decides on the appointment of the trustee who determines how to distribute the assets of the discretionary (family) trust. This person is not the same person as the trustee.

3     Are you aware that you cannot dispose by Will property held jointly, assets owned by a company or unit trust although you can dispose of the shares or units by your Will or superannuation benefits?

4     Do you know who will take your superannuation benefits on your death?

5     Are you aware of the tax consequences of leaving estate assets to charities?

6     Do you have any “partners” in business? What arrangements are in place protect you and your “partner” if either die?

7     Are you concerned that the Will may be challenged?

8     Was your Will prepared after careful consideration of your family’s financial position including trusts, companies, balance sheets and full details of assets and liabilities of each member of your family.


Behan Legal assists and advises on these important issues. For an appointment, call 03 9646 0344 .

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