Comprehensive Estate Planning Services

Estate planning should take into consideration two major scenarios:

  • Death of a person;
  • Loss of legal capacity of a person

Another way of explaining Estate Planning is that it effectively plans financially for the loss of one’s capacity due to death or disability (taking taxes, wishes, directions of the primary person including to a varying degree other beneficiaries’ interests).

This estate plan normally retains the said person as the primary beneficiary while they are alive (regardless of incapacity) and then the secondary beneficiaries (who become primary) on the death of the person (original primary beneficiary). OK, so that didn’t help but let’s move on…

Planning for your death:

Sorry death is not an option, like everyone else- you will die!

This involves developing a strategy to deal with your assets after you die – the legal instruments and structures, such as a will, you put in place to transfer your assets in the event of death.

Some say tax is a major consideration in estate planning, and strong governance relating to the tax aspects of estate administration can help manage the risks.

It is important but there are other major considerations:

  • Are all the beneficiaries going to be treated equally?
  • Have you already provided for any beneficiary?
  • Do any of the beneficiaries have special circumstances?
  • Would any of my stated beneficiary contest the will?
  • What assets will be part of the estate?
  • Why, when, and how you can exclude assets from the estate.

How can I minimise disgruntled beneficiaries from undermining my testamentary disposition?

(ie. ensure what you want to happen with estate funds on death!)

  • Whom can I trust to provide me with estate planning advice?
  • Who would be the best executor and trustee of my estate?
  • Is a testamentary trust appropriate?
  • What is a testamentary trust?
  • Does superannuation form part of my estate?
More questions than answers, but knowing the right questions will provide half the right answers (old Chinese proverb) …

Planning for your incapacity:

This is a real possibility for many. Medical science has been great for keeping our bodies going but not that great for our minds…

Medical treatment and lifestyle decisions will need to be considered.

It is important to note different states have different ways of dealing with medical and lifestyle decisions for a person who is mentally incapable of making such decisions. Such methods may include:

  • Enduring Power of Attorney (financial matters) – attorney has the power to transact financial products including transfer of property (if registered with Landgate) notwithstanding incapacity if so drafted in your best interest…
  • Enduring Guardianship – guardian has the power to make personal and lifestyle decisions for you should you lose capacity, including decisions as to where you live, withhold consent to medical treatment on your behalf, and many other matters such as dealing with relevant government bodies on your behalf.
  • Advance Health Directive – a document that expresses your medical wishes about treatment desired but not mandatory for health authorities to follow in the event that you are unable to make these decisions for yourself. Most people do not realise that this undermines the authority given to your guardians if also authorised.
  • Living Wills (SFR) – SFR drafted a statement of preferences for clients enduring guardian(s) and if no guardian(s) being appointed, then to my physicians and other healthcare providers as to their wishes with regard to specific treatments or procedures to use in the event of incapacity. Not a direction clearly mostly to maintain family harmony.

NB:     EPA’s & EPGs authority ceases on the death of the donor



Let us help you through this very important matter that affects everyone!

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Contact SFR Advisory on (08) 9220 5200 for financial, legal and property advice.

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