Estate Planning

Wills & Estate Planning

We are newcastle's leading experts in estate planning

Estate planning is planning for the effective distribution of your assets and affairs when you pass away. It also includes having a back-up plan for who looks after your affairs if you lose capacity. Having an effective estate plan can relieve the pressure off loved ones upon your death. Estate planning comprises a whole range of legal documents including a Will, superannuation death benefit nominations, power of attorney and power of enduring guardianship. Estate planning considers changed circumstances in life, such as divorce or retirement and involves all family members to work out the best plan for your asset pool.

Burgess Thomson have had experience in estate planning for the past 37 years and can help you draft a Will, as well as planning for any future incapacity through Power of Attorney and Guardianship documents. We can help by advising you in regard to estate and probate laws, write a will that maximises the inheritance of your family, set up family and testamentary trusts, advise you in choosing executors and guardians and minimize the chance your Will may be contested or subject to litigation. We also have a secure safe that will store all your important legal documents.

Arrange a consultation with our specialist Wills & Estates Lawyers in Newcastle.


What is a Testamentary Trust?

A testamentary trust is an effective estate planning tool. It is a trust which arises upon the death of the testator and is specified in their Will. Testamentary trusts can be beneficial by providing a greater level of control over the distribution of assets to beneficiaries. This can include beneficiaries who may be unable to responsibly manage their inheritance due to age, disability or spending habits. Testamentary trusts can provide beneficiaries to effectively manage their tax better, as they allow trust income to be distributed to minors at adult marginal tax rates.

How Is superannuation considered?

Superannuation is not automatically paid into your estate of your death. It is paid according to your fund’s rules and any death benefit nominations you have chosen. A Binding Death Benefit nomination or Non-lapsing Death Benefit nomination is a written nomination made to your super fund to make sure that your death benefit (including total super balance and any life insurance held in the fund) is paid according to your wishes.

What else should I consider with estate planning?

It is important to consider that a Will only concerns some assets- those that you ‘personally own’. Anything that is not in your personal name only, will not be dealt with your Will. Some examples of assets that may be excluded from your Will and should be dealt in a wider estate plan are: Companies and Trusts – if you are looking to pass on companies and trusts, there may need to be additional documentation to ensure the control of these structures and assets are passed on according to your wishes. Joint tenancy assets – any assets from a join tenancy arrangement pass automatically to the other owner when you pass away, while tenants in common (two or more people who co-own a property in defined shares) can be included in the Will. Therefore, it is important to consider whether to have a joint tenancy or tenants in common arrangement in place to form part of your estate planning.

What are the benefits of a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney allows someone you trust to act on your behalf in your absence. It is particularly useful if you are going overseas or if you require hospitalization. Through an appointment of a power of attorney you can give the attorney control of your business affairs to act on your behalf. The appointed power of attorney will safeguard your best interests and provide management for your financial and property affairs.

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