If you like to avoid conflict, stress and unnecessary expense – then the importance of a proper estate planning review and suite of documents, cannot be under-estimated. ...
Putting Off Making A Will? Don’t Wait. Here’s Why.
We are never able to predict when or how our time will come. Of all the things on our lengthy to-do lists, making a will is one of the most important things you can do for your family’s future. Have you been putting off drawing up your will?
If this is something you haven’t managed to do yet, you’re not alone. We at Rouse Lawyers’ Estate Planning department understand that it can be very difficult to think about your own death. It’s even harder to imagine yourself in a situation where you’re unable to make vital decisions for yourself.
Sadly, however, life is uncertain and the consequences of not planning ahead can make things very difficult for your loved ones. They will already be battling to cope with the fact that they have lost you, but the situation will be made far worse for them if you didn’t make a will.
What happens if you die without a will?
We have an article on our practice’s website that describes more fully what happens when you die intestate (without having drawn up a will). Here are a few key points to consider:
• Your loved ones must assume the whole burden of sorting out your affairs and arranging the funeral.
• Your assets will be distributed according to the intestacy rules, which might not be what you wanted.
• It may not be the most tax-efficient way of distributing the assets and could cut down on income flexibility. The beneficiaries will be paid out their shares directly upon your estate being wound up.
• The administrative burden of demonstrating entitlement to various banks, corporations and government institutions will be greater without a will.
The situation will be almost as bad for your loved ones if you don’t die but are left unable to make decisions for yourself if there is nobody with your Power of Attorney who can make them for you.
Can I write my will myself?
Yes, you could – in ...
Estate Planning: How To Pass On Your Success Without Distress
No one likes to think about life coming to an end, but if you’ve worked hard and reaped the rewards of your efforts, you’ll want to pass the fruits of your success to loved ones – without distress. Estate planning and making a legally binding will are just some of the ways to ensure your family is looked after and your assets are not left in limbo.
Failing to plan for your death can have serious consequences for your estate
Have you worked hard, whether to a plan or otherwise, and found your efforts rewarding for both you and your loved ones?
How do you plan to share that success, after you have gone?
Have you failed to plan and, therefore, planned to fail in death? No doubt this is contrary to how successfully you live your life now!
Is your inaction in preparing a will and estate plan going to cause:
• disharmony within your family
• confusion as to what you wanted
• distress over what you were perceived to have really intended, or
• unnecessary delays and expense, diminishing your successful legacy?
Too many people (a reported 45%) have not given their families the luxury of a will or plan to make their death a little less agonizing, time-consuming, emotionally draining and costly.
We all know someone who has allowed their distress in the grieving process to morph into unnecessary and expensive disputes. Why not minimize that by making a plan now?
You have two options. Simple!
Your options are simple: fail to plan (therefore planning to fail) or plan to succeed.
Fail to plan
The easiest option is to take the casual approach. Do nothing, keep letting your busy life control your lack of direction after death and let your loved ones deal with the consequences. Simply…
• Rely on the Intestacy Provisions: if you have a spouse or children, this can mean only a portion of your assets will be received by your ...
Do you co-own property with another person or are you considering such a purchase?
There are many things to consider when determining whether you should purchase property with another person but one of the most important, and often overlooked, considerations is what should occur when one party wishes to sell the property and the other does not.
Section 38 of the Property Law Act 1974 (Qld)anticipates such a dispute and provides that a co-owner may make an application to the court seeking to appoint a statutory trustee to sell the property whether the other co-owners agree or not.
The application is accompanied by a supporting affidavit and the consent of a statutory trustee (usually a solicitor or accountant), and is traditionally difficult to oppose. If the application is granted, the property in question may be sold either by auction or private treaty.
Proceeds from the sale will be divided between the co-owners in the proportion of their ownership, after mortgagee loans, solicitor’s fees, real estate agents commission and other costs have been paid.
As the decision to buy and sell property is often determined by an individual’s personal and financial situation and strategies, the decision as to whether to sell is something you want to ensure you have control over.
To ensure that you have control and certainty when purchasing property as a co-owner, we recommend entering into an agreement with the other owners outlining how the property is to be dealt with and eventually sold. Examples of what the agreement should anticipate are:
- how the property purchase is to be funded (ie initial funding vs ongoing costs);
- the proportions in which the property is to be owned;
- how the property will be used, maintained, managed etc.;
- whether there is to be a first right of refusal and at what price;
- how long the property must be owned before it can be sold and conversely, the maximum amount of ...
In the event that you do not have a valid Will, on the date of your death, your estate will be distributed in accordance with the rules of intestacy, which are as follows:
If you have a Spouse and no Children
Your entire estate will go to your spouse.
If you have a Spouse and Children
If the value of the estate is less than $150,000.00 excluding household chattels, then all to your spouse. If the value exceeds $150,000 excluding household chattels then household chattels to the spouse, $150,000 to the spouse and:
- If one child - one half of the rest of the estate, with the child receiving the other half; or
- If more than one child – one third of the rest of the estate, with the remainder of the estate being divided equally among the children. If a child of yours has predeceased you, leaving children, then their children take the interest of that your child would have taken, equally.
Example: Bill dies leaving his wife Mary and two children Peter and Mark. His estate is worth $500,000.00 (excluding household chattels). Mary receives $150,000.00, household chattels and $116,666.66. Peter and Mark each receive $116,666.66.
No spouse but have Children: children receive estate divided equally between them.
If you have a De facto spouse: to receive a spousal entitlement they must be the sole partner of yours in a de facto relationship with you, for a continuous period of not less than 2 years prior to death.
De facto relationships are defined as two adult persons, who live together as a couple, and who are not married to one another or related by family.
Example: Bill and Mary have been dating for two and a half years, but only living together for 18 months. Bill has two children from his previous marriage: Peter and Mark. His estate is worth $500,000.00. In addition, ...