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Estate Planning Contracts and Resources in Australia

No-one likes thinking about dying. It's usually something that we think is going to happen a long time from now and we've got plenty of time to prepare for it - right?

But if you have a family or other dependants that you love, you want to continue to provide for them if you are no longer around.

Estate Planning allows you to peer into the future and leave instructions for how you would like to deal with your worldly possessions. This will include your personal belongings, real estate, investments, superannuation and business interests. It also includes setting up documentation for temporary absences such as granting someone else the right to deal with your financial affairs because you unable to attend to these things yourself.

This page offers many resources for dealing with the time when you are no longer around, whether that absense is permanent or temporary.

Last Will and Testament Kit

last will and testament kitEach year thousands people die without leaving a Will and all too often this creates more worries, expense and sometimes hardship for the family of the deceased at a time of bereavement.

Think about it now, what would happen to your family and loved ones if you were to die without a Will?

When a person dies without making a Will (the legal term for this is a person dying “intestate”), then their assets are dealt with according to a set formulae contained in state specific legislation.  The formulae set out by the legislation is strictly applied and does not take into account your personal preferences or wishes.

You can avoid this scenario by making a Will which will give you control over how your estate is distributed. 

Estate Planning for families

estate planning for familiesContemplating death is not a particularly happy subject but it is necessary if you want some control over how your loved ones will be cared for when you die or if you are incapacitated. Read more.

Choosing an Executor

Choosing an executorChoosing an executor to administer your last Will is an important task. We've compiled a list of common questions and answers to help you choose an executor and prepare them for the jobs they will need to do.

Where to store your Will so your loved ones can find it

Last WillSo, you’re organised, you’re diligent - you make a Will and have all your affairs nicely in order.  Tick, tick and tick. But all this comes to nothing if your loved ones don’t know where you have stored your Will.

Court upholds mothers decision to leave estate to guru

Court decisionRecently two children challenged their mother’s Will after she left a sizeable portion of her estate to her esoteric healing guru. They challenged on the grounds that their mother did not adequately provide for them in her Estate. The court ultimately denied their challenge. 

Burining Question: How is inheritance dealt with in a property settlement

burning questions"I inherited some money from my father and a friend separately and some years apart.  I subsequently bought a flat (apartment) for roughly to the same value as both inheritance monies combined. I am now divorced and about to go through the legal process to sort out the assets as both parties cannot agree on a settlement arrangement. Are those inheritance monies considered part of my asset pool from which my ex-wife has a claim?”

Court over-rules mining billionaires Will and awards daughter $25 million lump sum

Court decisionRecently, the daughter of mining billionaire, Michael John Maynard Wright, Olivia Mead (19) launched a successful challenge to her deceased father’s Will. Ms Mead claimed that as his dependent, she was not left with adequate provision from her late father’s estate. Under “family provision” legislation in each state, a person who is a “dependent”, may make a claim if adequate provision has not been made for their proper maintenance, support, education and advancement in life.  The court has the discretion to make provision out of the estate, as it thinks fit. 

Australian Courts Rule electronic (and unsigned) Wills are valid

last willThe electronic age is throwing some interesting questions to the Court and prompting it to keep pace with modern culture. There have been a number of cases in Australia that have considered whether electronic or other non-paper forms of Will, are valid and enforceable. Read More 

Contesting a Will under Family Provision Legislation

In Australia, we recognise a persons freedom to dispose of assets after death any way they wish.  However, there are limits to this freedom.

Even where you have taken the proactive steps of making a Financial Agreement and a Will, your wishes may still be contested by an eligible person under family provision legislation.

Power of Attorney

Have you ever considered how your finances and health affairs will be handled should you lose the capacity to take care of these issues yourself?

Life is inherently uncertain and most of us are happy to be blissfully ignorant about the real possibility that at some point in our lives we may need someone else to look after our health care and or finances.

Really, I’m not trying to rain on your parade but it’s worthwhile stopping to think about these things just for a moment, particularly when you realise a little forward planning could possibly save your life or at lease save your loved ones additional stress at a time when they least need it.

A Power of Attorney is a written document that allows you to appoint someone to take care of your financial affairs.

Each Australian state has different versions of this document - click on the link below to

Where to get a POA for each Australian State

Download Power of Attorney Forms

Learn More: What are the Signing and Operating Requirements for POA

Learn More: What's the difference between Power of Attorney and an Enduring Guardianship

Advanced Health Care Directives

An Advanced Health Care Directive allows you to record your choices for medical treatment in the event of incapacitation.

Estate Planning for Businesses

Yes it is a thing. Whilst a Will might cover what happens to your personal possessions and to some degree, straightforward business assets, there are other methods of managing business assets if you are part of a partnership of company business structure.

Your company shareholders agreement may outline what would happen to your shareholding if you die or are permanently incapacitated or you might emply a Shareholders Buy Sell Agreement which covers these issues in much greater detail.

What is a Shareholder Buy sell agreement?

Used in conjunction with an insurance policy, the Shareholders Buy/Sell Agreement is like an estate plan for a company.

If a shareholder or other key person dies, the insurance policy kicks in to provide money to enable the other shareholders to buy out the deceased’s owners’ share in the business.

Likewise, provision is made in the event that an integral person is totally or permanently disabled.

Learn: How a Shareholder Buy Sell Agreement safeguards your companies future

Learn: What would you do if your business partner died?

Shareholder Buy Sell Agreement Template

Shareholder Agreement Buy Sell Agreement TemplateBuy-sell Agreements provide private companies and partnerships with the mechanisms to allow a nominated purchaser to buyout the interests of a partner or shareholder, on the occurrence of a 'trigger event' such death or disablement.

These agreements are often looked on as a type of "Will" for a company or partnership. They allow interested persons to set out how the interests of partners or shareholders will be dealt in the event of their death or disablement.

Deed of Accession Template

Deed of Accession TemplateThis deed of accession issued in connection with a shareholders agreement whereby a new shareholder agrees to be bound by the terms and conditions of the shareholders agreement to which the existing shareholders are a party.