Superannuation death benefits are a minefield and arguably in need of simplification and reform

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It’s a fair question to ask: What happens to a family if there is not an estate plan in place and change/tragedy occurs? Who has control? Quite simply, your family’s estate plan is then in the hands of the Courts as they decide which assets go to which parties. It’s an involved process, and the […]

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Get your paperwork in order for 2019 and your family will thank you

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The annual new year clean out and declutter is well under way – and Australia’s leading specialist trustee company Equity Trustees is recommending that everyone includes a tidy-up of some key paperwork in the process. “With 130 years’ experience of managing people’s estates and estate planning, we can say for sure that getting your Will […]

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What happens to a testator’s Will after divorce?

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Going through a divorce may upset the best laid out estate plans by partially or completely revoking a couple’s Wills. Jennifer and Thomas were married for 5 years before Jennifer filed for divorce earlier this year. They have 2 children under the age of 10 and previously executed a Will appointing each other as the […]

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Debt ridden estates can cause challenges for executors

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Managing the debts in deceased estates is an increasingly complicated area for executors and family members to deal with, and it is important they are aware of their responsibilities and rights, says Anna Hacker, Wills & Estates Accredited Specialist at Australian Unity Trustees. “In the past, it was fairly common for people, particularly elderly people, to […]

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When gifting your estate, why stop at grandchildren?

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Just how many generations of your descendants should you consider in your Will and is there an easy way to do it? No one has ever said that to me before. My client had just remarked: “I expect to live to be one hundred”. He was deadly serious. That may not have come as a […]

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Video wills can put estates in jeopardy

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A recent Court case in Western Australia has demonstrated the problems and risks of recording yourself on video outlining your instructions and wishes in the hope that it might be interpreted as your last intended Will. In a recent Western Australian case*, the Supreme Court was asked to accept 4 videos made by Peter Pitman […]

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Can you really disentitle a person from your Will?

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Does violence towards the deceased end the relative’s chances of a successful claim against the Will? It doesn’t matter what sort of ‘family’ unit you have – nuclear, blended or a step-family – family relationships can be challenging and complicated. It’s usually not until a testator has passed away that their estate becomes disputed and […]

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Limited capacity clients and their estate plans

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Advisers can face many challenges when working with clients who they believe may have limited capacity. What does it mean to be mentally/legally incapable? What is the test that is applicable? “Advisers can feel like they are walking a tightrope between the law and the expectations of their client and their families when they start […]

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Protecting your inheritance from the lender

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The growth in use of reverse mortgages by asset rich, cash poor seniors is increasing rapidly. As is the awareness by their children that this new debt facility will decrease their inheritance. Seniors receiving their lump sum will mean that the house that now has a reverse mortgage against it is having a capitalised charge […]

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Digital graveyard complicates estate planning

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With a myriad of statisticians now trying their hand at calculating when Facebook will have more dead “memorialised” members, than living ones, planning for the ownership of digital assets in your Will has never been more relevant, says Anna Hacker, national manager estate planning with Australian Unity Trustees. “Possible years that have been mooted for […]

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