Wills and Estate Planning in Brisbane, Toowoomba, Ipswich & North Lakes
Wills and Estate Planning.
Significant changes in family circumstances can give rise to some sticky situations for your estate in the event of death and we recommend reviewing your estate planning in conjunction with your family law matter.
When should I update my estate planning?
It is recommended that you review your estate planning at least once every five years, although there may be some intervening life events which make an earlier review essential. Significant changes in family circumstances can give rise to some sticky situations in the event of your death or incapacity, and we recommend reviewing your estate planning in the case of events such as:
- starting a new relationship;
- the birth of new children or grandchildren;
- the death of an executor or beneficiary;
- a significant change in financial circumstances.
If you have a Will and have separated from your husband or wife, the fact of your separation has no effect on your Will or Enduring Power of Attorney. For most couples, this will mean that if you die or become incapacitated prior to the finalisation of your divorce, your former spouse will be given both a legal role in the administration of your affairs, and receive whatever gifts they are entitled to as set out in your current Will (often your whole estate). This will be the case even if you have completed a property settlement with your former spouse but are not yet divorced.
If you are separating from a de facto spouse, then the fact of separation will have an impact on any provisions of your Will which refer to that former de facto spouse. The position may not be so clear, however, when it comes to non-estate assets such as your superannuation benefits. It is therefore strongly recommended that a thorough estate planning review and update be carried out to ensure your wishes are carried out.
Estate planning is not “one size fits all”. It is also not a simple matter of writing a Will, which only has legal operation on your death, and securing it in safe custody until that day eventually comes.
There are many other factors that make up a thorough estate plan, all of which require careful consideration to ensure your wishes are carried out correctly, and require regular review.
These can include:
- powers of attorney and enduring powers of attorney;
- advance health directives;
- the ownership of life insurance policies;
- superannuation death benefits;
- jointly owned properties; and the structure of any corporate or trust entities in which you have an interest.
We can help, contact our family law team for in-house wills and estate planning.
Our in-house estate planning solicitor works with your family lawyer to review your estate planning in the context of your family law matter and future pathway. This can be done simultaneously with your family law matter, all under the one roof.