Why Have an Estate Plan?

Posted on.
By Watkins Tapsell.

What is the point of having a Will?

As Estate Planning Lawyers, We are sometimes asked “What is the point of having a Will when they seem to be able to be successfully challenged in court these days?”

We are often involved with Estate Disputes where Estate Plans have not been put in place or adequately communicated to interested parties. These issues regularly arise with blended families. Our approach is to prepare a comprehensive Estate Plan to deal with that risk, and with a wide range of other potential risks and issues, to ensure your wishes are followed.

The value in a comprehensive Estate Plan is that it:

  1. Reduces risks that may arise on death, such as unfairness to any beneficiary, or failing to provide appropriately for a beneficiary with a disability or an addiction.
  2. Manages the risk of claims after death.
  3. Provides for an orderly and tax effective distribution of wealth in accordance with your wishes.
  4. Clearly communicates your intentions about the Estate Plan to all interested parties, to promote family harmony both in your lifetime and after your death.
  5. Minimises the risk of a reduction in an estate’s value caused by costs of legal disputes, by unnecessary tax/duty penalties, by costs of unwinding inappropriate structures or by costs of family arguments before the Guardianship Tribunal.
  6. Manages the risk of losing capacity during your lifetime by:
    • appointing the person or persons that you trust to act for you in regard to your assets where you cannot, after suffering some incapacity.
    • directing the person or persons that you appoint as guardian as to what health care you may want or do not want in the event of severe health issues and where you cannot communicate those directions yourself at the time.
  7. Gives peace of mind that all these issues have been effectively dealt with.

We consider that an Estate Plan is like an insurance policy. The value of dealing with all these issues comprehensively is that assets worth hundreds of thousands and, more often than not, millions of dollars can be effectively protected. We have been involved in situations where families have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars on unnecessary disputes arising due to poorly structured, or non-existent, Estate Plans.

As experienced Estate Planning Lawyers, we are also able to provide our clients with options when they are considering their Estate Plan. These options can include staging implementation of various aspects of the plan into the future.

Once we have a thorough understanding of our client’s circumstances and wishes, we can construct an Estate Plan tailored to their particular needs. If you would like to discuss your own Estate Planning needs, please contact our Estate Planning team on 9521 6000.

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