Wills & Estate Planning

Many families pay unnecessary tax on investing assets, and receiving superannuation death benefits, that have been left to them under inappropriately drafted wills. Assets left in the wrong way to a child who has debts, or to one with an intellectual disability, may be lost to creditors or those seeking to take advantage.

Under a “standard” will, if you leave a significant asset to a loved one who earns income from investing it, they will be taxed on the income at their marginal tax rate. If they have a job or a business, this can lead to a high tax bill. Under a “testamentary trust” will, however, they may distribute that income to other family members if they are on lower tax brackets. And (unlike other trusts) the tax-free threshold and lower marginal rates apply to testamentary trust income paid to children under 18.

Although the beneficiaries enjoy all the advantages of owning assets that are left for them under a testamentary trust, the assets are not legally “theirs”. This means their creditors cannot take the assets if the beneficiary has debts. If your child is at risk of divorce, with careful planning a testamentary trust may keep their inheritance out of the reach of the Family Court.

With many families’ second-largest (or even largest) asset now being superannuation, a proper estate plan must deal seamlessly with benefits paid from super on the death of a member. Death benefits can be subject to tax if they are not left to the right class of beneficiary.

If you run a business through a trust (as many business people do) the trust property is not “yours” to leave under your will. Instead, you must put in place a scheme to pass control of the trust to those who you wish to benefit from it after your death.

We provide a full range of wills and estate planning documentation and advice, from standard wills through testamentary trusts, business succession arrangements and enduring powers of attorney and guardianship.

We can assist you with all your will and estate planning needs, including:

  • Standard Wills
  • Super Death Benefit Nominations
  •  Will Disputes
  •  Superannuation Disputes
  •  Mutual Will Agreements
  •  Enduring Powers of Attorney
  •  Interpreting Complex Wills
  • Testamentary Trusts
  • Probate Applications
  •  Family Trust Succession
  •  Business Succession
  •  Letters of Administration
  •  Disability Trusts
  •  Enduring Guardianship