27 November 2023
At Tremayne Fay Rheinberger Lawyers we believe that estate planning encompasses much more than just a Will. There are other important measures that should be put in place to provide certainty to your loved ones if you lose capacity to make decisions for yourself. This can happen at any age. It is never too soon to organise your estate planning documents and retain control over who may have to act on your behalf.
Superannuation is often a person’s largest asset, but a common misconception is that superannuation will automatically form part of their estate. You can nominate to have your superannuation paid to certain family members or to your estate. Speak to an estate planning lawyer about how to make this possible in a binding way.
Notwithstanding this, a Will is an invaluable legal document. A Will primarily outlines how your assets are to be distributed upon your death. While the subject of death can be uncomfortable, preparing a Will provides numerous benefits and safeguards for your assets and loved ones. A Will can deal with the allocation of a vast range of different assets.
Preparing a Will gives you control over your estate. If you die without a valid Will, in Tasmania the allocation of your assets will be governed by the Intestacy Act 2010. The rules for distribution under this legislation may not align with your wishes but must be followed if you die without a Will. With a Will you retain control of the distribution of your hard-earned assets and ensure they are distributed in accordance with your wishes. Your Will can communicate your sentiments and values, ensuring sentimental items and family heirlooms are passed on to those important to you.
In the absence of a Will, asset distribution can be complex and highly contentious. It is common for family members and potential beneficiaries to dispute who is entitled to receive what. This often results in protracted legal matters and puts strain on relationships. This can be extremely distressing for family members who are already coming to terms with the loss of a loved one. A well-drafted Will can significantly reduce the likelihood of such dispute.
Additionally, for those with children, guardianship wishes can be expressed in a Will. You can appoint a trusted guardian to be responsible for your children’s day to day and long-term care, welfare and development. This provides peace of mind that your children will be left in the capable hands of someone that you trust.
For those with philanthropic intentions, you can make a powerful lasting impact through your Will. You can leave a portion of your estate to any charitable organisation or cause. Just 1% of your estate can have a huge impact on a charity. No matter how big or small, this allows you to leave a legacy extending beyond your lifetime.
The importance of estate planning and Wills cannot be overstated. Your Will is an expression of your values and intentions, offers you control over your assets, protects the people you love from potential disputes or relationship breakdowns and is the most effective means to provide for the well-being of your loved ones long after you are gone.