Your Will is one of the most important documents you will ever sign, and it must be properly drafted to ensure that the assets you have spent a lifetime collecting are left according to your wishes.
You may be surprised to learn that some of your assets, such as your superannuation, life insurance and your share of any jointly held assets (usually the family home), will not automatically fall into your estate when you pass away. Further, any assets which you control through family companies or trusts, but do not actually own, cannot be disposed of through your Will as part of your estate.
A well formulated estate plan is required to ensure that these assets benefit the people you choose, and in the most tax effective manner.
Including a testamentary discretionary trust in your Will is an example of such an estate plan. These discretionary trusts come into existence upon your death and can have significant benefits, including protecting the beneficiaries who receive your assets in the event they:
- get into financial difficulties with creditors; and/or
- are declared bankrupt; and/or
- suffer a breakdown of their matrimonial relationships.
Further, income distributed from testamentary trusts to minors is taxed at the marginal rate. The special tax treatment received by these trusts can result in thousands of dollars in tax being saved annually upon the death of someone with a young family.
A properly prepared estate plan will take into account legal, taxation and financial issues. It is therefore important that you involve your solicitor, accountant and financial advisor in a coordinated approach to establishing and, from time to time, reviewing your estate plan.
If you would like assistance with the preparation of your estate plan, please do not hesitate to contact our office on (07) 4963 2000 or via our online contact form.