When considering your estate planning and succession needs, your Will is the predominate document that sets out how your assets should be administered and distributed when you die. It is important to consider a number of things when planning your estate and will. In this post, we consider a number of these issues.
Appointment of Executor/s
The Executor is the person who administers your estate after your death. You can appoint one or more people to be the Executor and they should be someone that you trust. Generally, they should be a person with some business acumen. Often you would appoint your spouse, your next of kin or a professional person such as a solicitor or accountant.
If you are domiciled overseas, that is, you consider your home to be out of Australia, or hold assets overseas, you need to consider how to deal with these in your Will. In some cases, you may be able to make an International Will that will deal with all your assets throughout the world. In other cases, you may need to make Wills in different countries to ensure that your assets are dealt with how you wish them to be dealt with when you die.
If you run a business or are in a partnership or own shares in a private company, special care must be taken with dealing with your interest in these entities. There may be special provisions in the Partnership Agreement, Shareholder Agreement or Constitution of the company dealing with what you can and can’t do with your interest in the entity on your death. It may also not be appropriate to gift your interest in the entity to a person that does not want to continue running the business.
If you have control over a Family Trust or Unit Trust, or own shares in a corporate trustee for one of these trusts, you must take care to ensure that you deal with the trust or shares appropriately so that your wishes with the trust can be properly effected. A simple will gifting all of your estate to your spouse or children may have unforeseen consequences for the Trust and its assets.
Guardians for children
If you have minor children, you should appoint guardians for your children in your will so that someone you know and trust can care for them if you die whilst your children are under the age of 18 years. You should discuss the appointment with the person you are appointing prior to making the Will to ensure they understand the role and their obligations.
Debts owed to you
You may have debts owed to you by friends or family members. You should consider how you want these debts to be dealt with when you die. Whether these people will have to pay the money back to your estate or whether the debt should be forgiven on your death and considered a gift to that person.
Start your estate planning today
Our team is experienced in all aspects of estate planning and succession. We can assist with preparing documents for simple estates or complex estates with a myriad of family trusts and companies. Contact our team today to start your estate and succession planning.