Do You Need Comprehensive Estate Planning?

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Home > Blog > Do You Need Comprehensive Estate Planning?
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04/04/2024

As an adult, it is incredibly important to have a valid will, particularly if you have a spouse and children who need to be cared for after your death. In addition to a will, individuals who have an interest in a trust or company structures should seriously consider comprehensive estate planning to ensure that after they die their beneficiaries do not have to untangle a complex and poorly planned assortment of assets.

My assets aren’t held in trusts or companies – do I really need comprehensive estate planning?

You may think that the transfer of your estate will be straightforward, however, this is rarely the case. Many assets require the preparation of ancillary documents in addition to your will for them to be transferred effectively. One example of this is your superannuation.

Although your superannuation belongs to you, it cannot be transferred in the same way as cash in a bank account. This is because your superannuation is held on trust. If you have superannuation that you would like to leave to a beneficiary of your choosing, you should speak to an experienced wills and estates lawyer who can advise you of the best course of action to ensure the funds held in your super account are bequeathed to the right people.

Other structures which may require comprehensive review and the preparation of ancillary documents include:

  • a discretionary trust;
  • a unit trust;
  • a partnership;
  • a joint venture business; and/or
  • a proprietary limited company.

Under what circumstances is a will not enough?

Where an estate is comprised only of property and bank funds, a will is generally sufficient to ensure that these assets are transferred to the correct beneficiaries. However, under some circumstances, a will simply won’t do the trick and the asset owner must undertake additional estate planning. These circumstances include where:

  • assets are held in trusts, companies, or superannuation funds;
  • the deceased was a member of a blended or dysfunctional family unit; and
  • there is a risk that the transfer of assets could result in significant legal and financial implications for the beneficiaries.

When is the right time to commence comprehensive estate planning?

The sooner you speak to a professional who can undertake comprehensive estate planning on your behalf, the sooner you can be certain that your affairs are in order.

If your personal situation has changed since you last reviewed your estate or updated your will, you should take immediate action.

Our wills and estates lawyers in Cairns are experienced at undertaking comprehensive estate planning and can ensure that your wishes are heard and reflected, and that your legacy and assets are protected for the benefit of your family. Contact us today for a fixed-fee quote.