Wills, Powers of Attorney + Estate Planning
We understand life is busy + you’re not thinking about what’s going to happen to your assets when you pass away – we’re here to make it easy!
Estate Planning Services
What is Estate Planning?
Estate Planning, or as we like to call it – ‘life planning’ is planning in advance to ensure that it is clearly known what you want to happen once you have passed away or in the lead up to your passing. The goal of your estate planning should be to ensure that the passing of your wealth, assets and entities is managed in a controlled way, no matter what life throws at you. It should also mean that, to the extent that the law allows, your assets pass to the person/persons of your choosing.
Important as they are, Wills are simply only one component of what should be much broader estate planning – and that planning should begin as early as possible. Estate planning should include planning in anticipation of significant life events, such as retirement, death, loss of mental capacity, marital breakdowns, children, or major business or financial transactions.
Estate planning extends well beyond Wills to incorporate:
- Powers of Attorney
- Business Ownership
- Trust Structures
- Tax Planning
- Broader Family Arrangements
For truly seamless and comprehensive estate planning, we have the ability to combine elements of legal advice, financial and accounting advice to ensure that all elements of your personal and business circumstances are considered.
We can also assist with:
- Powers of Attorney
- Superannuation Binding Death Benefit Nominations
- Testamentary Trusts
- Special Disability Trusts
- Business Succession Planning
- Estate Planning to reduce the risk of Estate Claims
Looking to complete your Will from the comfort of your home?
Check out the below link to see if you qualify for one of our Online Wills.
What Does An Estate Planning Lawyer Do?
An estate planning lawyer helps you manage and control assets both while you are alive and after your death. They do this through a number of avenues including drafting your Will, drafting your Powers of Attorney, assisting with Binding Death Benefit Nominations and the preparation of Family Trusts.
What Are Powers of Attorney?
Put simply, Powers of Attorney are documents appointing a person or persons to act for you while you’re alive, but most commonly, when you have lost your own mental capacity to make decisions for yourself.
Briefly, there are two types of Powers of Attorney, see below:
Enduring Power of Attorney
Enduring Power of Attorney has two facets:
- Financial Power of Attorney: this allows someone else to make a financial decision on your behalf. This power can commence (a) immediately or (b) when you cease to have your own mental capacity to make decisions.
- Personal Power of Attorney: this allows someone else to make lifestyle decisions on your behalf. Examples of such decisions could be where you live, who sees you, and who doesn’t see you (basically the decisions that would be made by an adult in respect to a minor child).
Appointment of Medical Treatment Decision Maker
An Appointment of Medical Treatment Decision Maker allows you to appoint up to four people who will make decisions for you, only if you have lost the capacity to make decisions for yourself.
These decisions are limited to medical in nature, for example: do you stay on life support, have a particular surgery, bloody transfusion or receive particular medication.
So, do you need Powers of Attorney?
The answer is YES!
Although often considered to be only necessary for the elderly, Powers of Attorney provide the authority for another person to act on your behalf, should you be unable to do so yourself, and are useful documents for all adults and unfortunately, none of us are immune from accidents, illness or absences.
If something were to happen to you and you did not have Powers of Attorney it is up to VCAT to decide who is appointed, and this may not always be the person whom you would have chosen.
What Types of Estate Planning Does Canny Legal Offer?
We understand life is busy and you’re not thinking about what’s going to happen to your assets when you pass away, that’s when our team at Canny Legal step in to help you and to make it as easy as possible for you.
Business Estate Planning
It is a common mistake for people making a Will to think that their business assets pass as part of their individual Will.
This is not always the case. It all depends on what asset structures you have in place. Family trusts, self-managed super funds and company deeds are all managed in different ways.
Succession planning generally occurs when individuals want to ensure that their assets are protected, even after their death. Despite the general rule being that you cannon ‘rule from the grave’ there are ways that you can protect your assets in certain circumstances.
It is also important to recognise that assets pass with your Will, and how to deal with assets that do not form part of your ‘Estate’ and are not always controlled by your Will. Superannuation is a good example of this. Superannuation does not form part of your Estate unless you direct it to via a nomination form that each individual superannuation company will have. You can choose to nominate individuals (as long as they fall within the rules such as a spouse, de facto or children). Family trusts are also another example where the Will needs to consider the assets of the trust but they do not pass in accordance with your Will.
Estate Planning FAQs
Estate Planning is the process in which we look at all of your circumstances and decide the best way to deal with your assets and wealth, both while you’re alive and upon your death.
Sometimes, it is appropriate to set up different structures to deal with your assets while you’re alive because it means that, when you die, your beneficiaries (spouse, children and the like) benefit the most from what you have accumulated during your lifetime.
Estate Planning fees are not deductible.
If you are an Executor dealing with an Estate, all fees are payable by the Deceased Estate.
Estate Planning involves preparing and planning a Will, but is not exclusive to this.
When we meet with you to take instructions for a Will, we also look at your business structures, any family trusts, superannuation and how it is held as well as Powers of Attorney.
It might be that you do not need/want everything we discussed, but we ensure that you’re not limited to only discussing aspects of a Will.
Often it is ok to come to the initial appointment without any documents. However, depending on your circumstances, some documents we may require include:
- Copy of Family Trust Deeds;
- Copy of Self-Managed Superannuation Fund Trust Deeds;
- Copy of the title to your property (this can be important if we need to know whose name the property is registered in); and
- Any other details of assets.
An Estate Planning lawyer looks at your individual circumstances and puts a plan in place to achieve your goals (during your lifetime and upon your death).
We also look at your beneficiaries’ circumstances to determine what, if any, steps need to be put in place to protect them and their potential inheritance.
One important part of Estate Planning is determining what kind of Will best suits your needs: e.g. simple Will, Testamentary Trust Will or Special Disability Trust to name a few.
At the initial appointment, we will discuss and get an overall picture of your circumstances and, from this, determine what level of protection you or your beneficiaries require.
Download our free SEVEN ESSENTIALS OF ESTATE PLANNING GUIDE to ensure that you are armed with all of the information you need to consider when protecting your family and yourself.