As much as we don't like to think about it, each of us has a moral obligation to consider what we want others to do on our behalf when we die.
Estate planning is the process of properly documenting the distribution of all assets owned and controlled by a person at the time of their death. It is important to have an effective estate plan, including nomination of beneficiaries for your superannuation and a legal and binding Will, so that your estate may be administered in accordance with your wishes. Mechanisms such as Testamentary Trusts can be created to ensure that the impact of taxation on your estate is minimised.
Closely related to this is the issue of what we would like done on our behalf, not if we die, but if we have some medical misfortune that precludes us from making decisions for ourselves. Few people realise that, unless it is documented ahead of time, the people you would wish to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf are legally precluded from doing so. This is where the preparation of Enduring Powers of Attorney and Enduring Powers of Guardianship are essential.
The input of specialist estate planning lawyers is vital to ensure these documents are in place and will be effective if and when they are needed, when it is too late for you to state your wishes.
If you do not have a relationship with such professionals, we can provide an introduction to specialists with whom we have had many years of an effective working relationship.
What's more, the consultation with them can be conducted in our offices, making the process easier for you and ensuring we can make a direct contribution of the information you may be relying on us to provide to them.
Apart from the obvious situation of when you either hear or use the words "See you in court" and, in addition to the estate planning issues addressed separately on this website, the assistance of experienced legal advisers is essential in a number of areas.
Business Structuring, Restructuring and Succession Planning:
The appropriate structure for your business, be it partnership, company or trust, requires legal input to both determine the right vehicle to use and the drawing up of the required documentation.
In conjunction with our preferred tax and commercial lawyers, we have assisted a diverse range of clients with:
- advice on the obligations, advantages and disadvantages of various business structures;
- establishment of all types of business structures, including partnerships, trusts and companies;
- guiding business owners through the options, traps and pitfalls of restructuring their businesses, including advice on concessions or exemptions to Federal and State taxes;
- tailoring agreements to regulate the sale and purchase of business equity at retirement, or in the event of temporary or permanent incapacity.
The comprehensive knowledge of our legal colleagues of the superannuation laws and the potential impact of recent superannuation reform ensures that, in the event you decide to manage your superannuation through a self-managed super fund (SMSF), your superannuation needs are in secure hands. Working with our preferred lawyers, we bring to bear extensive expertise to assist clients with all types of superannuation matters, including:
- establishing and updating SMSFs;
- assisting SMSFs in achieving and maintaining complying fund status;
- advising clients on how to best structure their SMSF investments; and
- transferring assets to and from SMSFs by way of Limited Recourse Borrowing Arrangements (LRBAs).
If you would like more information on any of the above services, you will find our contact details here.