Many Australians die without leaving a will for their dependents. This leaves the court with the final word regarding how their estate is to be distributed. It's essential to plan your estate while you are still alive to avoid leaving your beneficiaries in financial turmoil. Here are some of the reasons you need a wills and estate lawyer.
Many people cannot tell the difference between a will and an estate plan. These two terms are wrongly used interchangeably, but they are different concepts. An estate plan includes a series of legal documents that prepare for your disability or death. On the other hand, a will is one of the legal documents you need to make during estate planning. A will lays out your wishes regarding the distribution of your estate among your beneficiaries.
A wills and estate attorney will help you prepare a will and update it where you deem it necessary. An attorney will also help you obtain the other estate planning documents. These documents include an estate plan questionnaire, financial power of attorney, disposition of final remains, personal property disposition, and health care power of attorney.
Draft a Will According to the Law
While you can Google the legal requirements for writing a will, you might not be able to get all this information right. It's crucial to consult a lawyer for advice on whether what you intend to do with your estate is permitted by the law. For example, can you leave one of your children a bigger share of your estate or will the other child contest this decision and succeed?
Hiring a lawyer will ensure that your will and its contents all conform to the legal requirements of writing a will in Australia. This will save your beneficiaries from the effort and cost of contesting a will after your death. Furthermore, it prevents the courts from deciding how your property is distributed should your will be declared null and void.
Establishing a Trust and Alternatives to Probate
If you want to leave a particular share of your estate to an underage person, you may need to establish a trust. A trustee should administer the trust. To make this trust legally binding, it would be best to consult a wills and estates lawyer. The professional will advise you on all the considerations and pitfalls involved with creating a trust.
Apart from writing a will, there are numerous ways you can avoid probate and ensure your estate goes directly to your dependents. An attorney will highlight the pros and cons of these alternatives to probate. Some of these alternatives include payable on death accounts, lifetime gifts, transfer of death accounts, joint accounts with the rights of survivorship, and revocable living trusts.Share
15 June 2020
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