Tasmanian Perpetual Trustees have been advising Tasmanian's on Wills and Estate Planning since 1887.
There are some very important events, which occur during a lifetime, which may require you to review your personal and financial objectives to ensure your Estate is managed as you want if you were to lose intellectual competency or pass your Estate onto your Beneficiaries as you decide on death. By realising the importance of reviewing your Estate planning, you can have peace of mind that your family has been provided for in the manner that best meets your wishes and their needs. Whatever your age or life stage, it is never too early to begin Estate Planning and making a Will. Wills and Estate Planning is a very important process if you want to set the direction in the way your assets and affairs are managed when you are gone.
Estate Planning enables you to consider and protect those you care about – by documenting, in a Will, how you want your assets (Estate) managed and distributed in the event of your death. Estate Planning is important to help your family and other beneficiaries to gain the maximum benefit from your Estate and ensure your family’s financial future when you’re not around.
Sound Estate Planning can also significantly reduce the chances of legal disputes, friction between family members and potential loss of benefits. The Estate Planning process can also have the ability to protect the interests of the Estate for its beneficiaries, often in a tax effective way, and protect assets if a beneficiary bankruptcy or divorce is a risk.
A carefully developed Estate Planning strategy can help to:
- provide for the orderly transfer of property;
- manage the Estate tax effectively;
- equalise the inheritances for the beneficiaries if required;
- provide for any special needs of family members and other dependants;
- recommend the appointment of a guardian for young children;
- ensure the availability of cash to pay necessary taxes and administrative expenses;
- identify the need to develop a succession plan for a family business;
- ensure the continued operation of a family business.
A Tasmanian Perpetual Trustees Estate Planner will consult your other professional advisers in order to get a full understanding of the family financial position and wishes of the Willmaker. From this initial consultation, which usually takes approximately one hour, an Estate Planning strategy is developed.
A Tasmanian Perpetual Trustees Estate Planner can also prepare your Enduring Power of Attorney document. An Enduring Power of Attorney enables you to choose who will manage your financial affairs if you ever become incapacitated or unable to make decisions.
As with many professional services our fees reflect the expertise and effort required to fulfill the legal and associated responsibilities of Estate Planning, the personalised nature of our service, and the benefits of peace of mind and security.
A Will is a document that outlines what is to happen to your assets after your death.
A Will lets you provide for your loved ones and remove the uncertainty about how your Estate is to be handled in the event of your death. Statistically, half of us don’t make a Will. People often think everything will go automatically to their partner or spouse, this is not necessarily so. A Will can lessen the emotional distress that occurs when you die by providing clear, concise and effective directions about who gets what and, if necessary, giving explanations for why things have been divided up in this manner.
Regardless of the size of your Estate - if you are over the age of 18 years you should make a Will and appoint an Executor to ensure certainty regarding what will happen to your assets after death. If you pass away without a Will, or what is known as intestate, your Estate will be distributed as determined by the Administration and Probate Act 1935 and administered by someone appointed by the Court, usually a family member.
What happens if you don’t have a Will
The law is complex and may not provide for those you would want to benefit in the way you would like.
If you do not have a spouse or partner, children, parents, grandparent, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles or next-of0kin and don’t have a Will, the whole of your Estate may go to the State Government as Bona Vacantia – "abandoned treasured".
Advantages of a Will
By having a properly prepared Will you can:
- choose your own Executor to distribute the Estate, eliminating the necessity of a more costly appointment of an Administrator – who may not be of your choosing;
- distribute your belongings and loved treasured as you wish, including personal property of sentimental value;
- provide for future management of investments or a family business;
- record wishes for certain persons to be appointed guardians for young children;
- utilise strategies to effectively manage taxation and administration expenses in the settlement of the Estate;
- provide for special wishes, such as to make charitable donations or establish bequests; and
- create testamentary trusts to protect assets for future generations.
A Will is a very important document and needs to clearly identify what portion of your Estate will go to who after you die, while also considering an array of regulatory requirements.
Even a straightforward Will needs to do four things:
- appoint an Executor;
- sell or transfer all property after settling your debts;
- make adequate provision for all those people for whom adequate provision ought to be made;
- be dated, signed and correctly witnessed.
Wills prepared without first completing a full Estate planning process may not take into account all personal and family circumstances and may put at risk the value of the Estate, leading to costly legal disputes. An incomplete and/or incorrectly signed Will can result in the Will not being legally effective and thus unable to be administered completely or in part, when needed. It could also lead to the Estate being administered in a manner which was not intended.
If Tasmanian Perpetual Trustees is appointed executor of your Estate, your Will will be held in safe keeping free of charge.
Wills and relationships
A partner is usually someone who has lived with you continually for 2 or more years. It is important to seek professional advice in regards to your Will if you are in a relationship as your partner may have the same rights as a spouse if you die without a Will. Therefore, your partner might be the primary beneficiary if you die without a Will. A Tasmanian Perpetual Trustees Estate Planner can help you work through any questions you may have in these circumstances.
Wills and children
If you have infant children it is helpful to include your wishes on guardians for them should both parents die unexpectedly. It is also a good idea to consider at what age you would like your children to benefit from your Estate. For example, under Tasmanian law children receive assets at 18 years of age if you do not specify a later age. You may want to stipulate a later age or give discretion for earlier access to pay expenses for their education and their other life expenses.
Good planning can ensure that your children and family benefit from your Estate the way you intend.
For these reasons trying to make a Will without professional assistance or using a Will kit purchased from a Newsagent, for example, may cause problems or difficulties down the track. It is too important to leave it to chance and hope that the Will has been made in a way that achieves your desired wishes. It is far better to prepare your Will with experienced professionals or a Trustee Company like Tasmanian Perpetual Trustees, which has qualified and experienced Estate Planners.
Locating the Will
As the last Will provides the instructions that an Executor needs for administering an Estate, it is important to ensure that it can be located when needed. When you make a Will you should ensure that your relatives or close friends know where the Will is kept. If a safety deposit box is used, ensure that someone trusted has access to it (usually your Executor) and also place a copy of your Will with your solicitor, accountant or trusted friend. Tasmanian Perpetual Trustees will retain Wills in safe custody free of charge when you appoint Tasmanian Perpetual Trustees as the impartial Executor.
It is most important that your Will be complete and correctly reflect your wishes.
Your Will should be reviewed every 2-3 years or whenever there are major changes in your circumstances. Changes include getting married or divorced, having children, or buying a property. Changes in taxation laws may also make your Will revision necessary.
There are also changes in circumstances that can automatically revoke a Will or make instructions in a Will ineffective. Tasmanian Perpetual Trustees’ Estate Planning process anticipates your changing circumstances and helps avoid many of these problems.
Things to consider when revising a Will
The following considerations should be made when revising a Will:
- marriage usually revokes your Will unless it is expressly made in contemplation of that marriage;
- divorce usually revokes your Will unless it is expressly made in contemplation of that divorce;
- if a significant relationship (also known as a defacto relationship) is started or ended, your Will may need to be changed because the Relationships Act 2003 considers most significant relationships to be the same as marriages when considering Wills;
- if someone named in your Will changes his or her name and the Will is not revised, there can be delays in completing the administration;
- if a beneficiary dies, you may want that share to be divided among the beneficiaries’ children or given to the beneficiaries’ spouse;
- if specifically described property (eg. 10 Jones Street, Petersville) is left to a beneficiary and that house is later sold, the beneficiary may receive nothing
Your Will may also need updating if significant changes occur in the nature of your Estate. For example:
- If you inherit a hotel or a farm is purchased, or assets are transferred to a trust or partnership. Even if the beneficiaries do not need to change, the Executor may need different powers to deal with assets in the best possible way;
- if inflation erodes the real value of a gift of a specific sum of money;
- if the extent of a property in a bequest changes. For example, if all the shares or money in a particular account have been left to a particular person and shares are bought or sold or money is deposited or withdrawn, the beneficiary may get less or more benefit than intended unless the Will is changed;
- if the nature of the property in a specific bequest changes. For example, the type or name of bank account, share type, or holding (eg. company takeover);
For further information about revising your Will, Contact our expert Estate Planners or make an appointment today.
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal appointment you make that gives another person or organisation the right to act on your behalf. The document clearly sets out the limits of this power, so you can authorise them to do as much or as little as you wish.
By appointing an Enduring Power of Attorney you can choose a responsible person or trusted organisation to handle some or all of your affairs when the need arises. You may appoint more than one Attorney, for example, appointing your spouse, with the provision that if they are unable to act on your behalf, then an organisation such as Tasmanian Perpetual Trustees can act in substitution.
An Enduring Power of Attorney may lie ‘dormant’ for years if need be, but importantly it is there and ready to be used when required. For example, if you were unexpectantly prevented from attending to your financial matters through illness, absence or simply because you prefer not to manage your affairs, imagine the problems that could arise.
Tasmanian Perpetual Trustees has over 120 years experience in acting for Tasmanian's under Powers of Attorney. As a Statutory Trustee Company our integrity, trust and professionalism is recognised. Tasmanian Perpetual Trustees has the expertise and experience to ensure that your affairs, from the simple to the most complex, are administered accurately, completely and with full accountability. An experienced Trust Administrator will be appointed to oversee your account. They will build a strong trusting relationship with you, your family and your other professional advisers.
Your Executor administers and distributes your Estate to your beneficiaries after your death according to your Will. Being an Executor can be a difficult and challenging, and is often best left to professionals or those removed from the conflicting emotions of the situation.
Tasmanian Perpetual Trustees was established in 1887 to be an impartial and professional Executor and Trustee for Tasmanians and today it remains a core part of our expertise. By appointing Tasmanian Perpetual Trustees as your Executor you have peace of mind in knowing that your Estate will be administered as you would have wished and without placing extra burdens on family or friends at what is usually a very difficult time.
Unfortunately situations do arise where an adult is no longer able to make financial decisions or manage their property and financial affairs and did not grant an Enduring Power of Attorney. In these situations Tasmanian Perpetual Trustees can provide these services when appointed as Administrator by the Guardian and Administration Board.
Once appointed, Tasmanian Perpetual Trustees is able to take control of financial and legal decisions on behalf of an adult who is no longer able to do so themselves.
Becoming a beneficiary, for some can be an overwhelming experience.
Tasmanian Perpetual Trustees is able to provide a guide that explains the Estate administration process and how this will affect a beneficiary.
We hope that after reading this guide you will know what to expect, understand the process and how and when you will receive information on the progress toward finalising your inheritance.
What you need to know
|Agent||A person or organisation who is authorised to act on behalf of another (Principal) and whose actions the Principal is then bound|
|Attorney||A person or organisation who is authorised to act by Power of Attorney|
|Beneficiary||A person who benefits under a Will or Trust|
|Bequest||A gift of property under a Will, also known as a legacy|
|Estate||The assets and liabilities of a person|
|Executor||A person or organisation entrusted by the Willmaker to carry out the provisions of their Will|
|Intestate||A person that dies without leaving a valid Will|
|Joint Tenancy||The ownership of property by several persons, where on the death of one joint owner, the property passes to the survivors|
|Legacy||A gift of property under a Will, also known as a bequest|
|Life Tenant||A beneficiary whose benefit in property is limited to his or her lifetime|
|Probate||The authority of the Supreme Court of Tasmania that a deceased persons Will was their last valid Will entitling the named Executor to administer the estate accordingly|
|Residuary Beneficiary||The class of beneficiaries who share the remainder of the Estate after all debts, expenses, legacies and bequests are paid|
|Residue||The portion of the Estate that remains after all debts, expenses, legacies and bequests are paid|
|Testamentary trusts||Any Trust established under a Will. Often used to split income for tax purposes or to protect vulnerable beneficiaries|
|Testator||A person making a Will (Willmaker)|
|Will||A document providing for distribution of a persons Estate on death|
|Willmaker||A person who makes a Will (Testator)|
We can personally tailor your Will & Estate Planning to your specific needs and provide advice on important issues that affect your Estate and your beneficiaries, such as superannuation, legal implications, life insurance and tax.
Receive a 10% discount on Will preparation or revision when you present your Seniors Card at any of our branches.
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