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Estate Plannning

This series of articles delves into Estate planning and how using a financial agreement as part of that plan financial agreements.

Financial Agreements

A Financial Agreement is an effective tool for couples to determine ownership of assets and/or liabilities of a marriage or de facto relationship.

The Family Law Act states that a Financial Agreement will continue to operate despite the death of a party, in favour of, and be binding on, the legal representative of that party. (Refer to ss 90DA(1A) and 90H for married couples and ss90UF(2) and 90UK for de facto couples).

What this means is that the agreement remains in force despite the death of a party and is binding on the parties estate - essentially dead or aliv you are bound to keep your word regarding the financial agreement.

Making a Will

Although a Financial Agreement can be effective at setting out the ownership of assets and liabilities of an existing or past relationship, it does not take the place of a Will.

Parties to a Financial Agreement are advised to draw up a Will to enable their assets to be legally transferred in accordance with their wishes.  A person is not prevented from leaving property or assets to a partner (or ex-partner) even though if a Financial Agreement exists between them.

What if I don’t have a Will?

If a Will is not in place, any assets and liabilities will be dealt with according to strict rules and procedures governed by your particular State. 

This may result in a drawn out process which does not take into account your personal situation or your preferences of who is to receive your assets. See more

When should I review my Will?

It is advisable to review your Will frequently to ensure it still reflects your wishes as your life changes and evolves.

In particular, you should make immediate steps to review and if necessary, update your Will if:-

  • you get married;
  • you separate or get divorced;
  • you have children;
  • the executor is no longer willing or able to act;
  • a beneficiary, spouse, executor or trustee dies;
  • the asset pool changes and specific assets bequeathed in the Will have been sold and/or new assets have been brought.

Got to Next Article - What if I made a Will during marriage and I’m now divorced?

The Financial Agreement Kit provided by RP Emery & Associates provides a complementary will kit. 

It is strongly recommended that you take the time to put a valid will in place that reflects your current circumstances.

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