Earlier this year, a court judgement was delivered in yet another case where there was a dispute between 2 people as to which Will of a deceased person (there were two) was their true Last Will and Testament.
The court proceedings were commenced by the deceased person's niece. The niece was initially successful - judgement was given in her favour.
However, that judgement was not the end of the matter! The beneficiary who lost "her" inheritance appealed the decision. Her appeal was successful!
It's a sobering reminder that whilst the evidence and the law may be on your side - the journey may be longer and considerably more expensive than anticipated.
As usual, this article focuses on preventing problems from occurring - rather than expensive solutions.
Wills need care and attention. Estate planning needs care and attention.
And when this doesn't happen, the consequences can be extremely challenging and unfortunate for those left behind.
The ever increasing information on the internet only adds to the problems encountered by those left behind. What if the information they are reading is incorrect, or not relevant to their circumstances, or is incomplete?
Today's article isn't directly about someone acting upon incorrect information sourced from the internet. It is about the benefits of your Will being consistent with your management of your assets whilst you are alive.
It has been (and continues to be) an expensive & all-consuming exercise for these 3 adult children.
Last Friday (1 June 2018) the Supreme Court handed down a decision. But it's only the beginning!
When someone passes away, family members and interested parties may want to obtain a copy of the Will.
Often, someone will be told that they are not entitled to see the Will or receive a copy of the Will - even when they are legally entitled to the document.
Today's article clarifies who is entitled to be provided with a copy of a Will.
Last week I received a phone call from a young man who was very disturbed at being told that he would not be provided with a copy of his father's Will. His father had remarried, and the new wife was the Executor of his estate - after he died prematurely following an accident. His father had previously reassured his son that he was well looked after in his Will. I could understand his real concerns about the behavior of his step-mother. He's heard all the stories!
We have previously spoken about the substantial financial benefits available to families when planning their financial affairs.
Today's article provides more examples of the potential financial benefits which are easily available to families who implement simple estate planning arrangements.
When a person passes away, any capital gain they made in respect of an applicable asset that they owned is disregarded, UNLESS the asset passes to a beneficiary that is an "exempt entity", such as a foreign resident.
This means that, where an applicable asset passes directly to a foreign resident - as usually occurs in a 'simple' Will - Capital Gains Tax is triggered.
That Capital Gains Tax can be overcome by passing the applicable asset into a Testamentary Discretionary Trust created in your Will.
It's impossible to over emphasise the huge financial benefits to families of working together when planning their financial affairs.
Most families do not plan, and the Australian Taxation Office thanks you for your generosity in contributing more of your income than is necessary.
Today's article presents a fairly straightforward scenario. The figures do the talking. The cost of a Will could be recouped in 3 months - even though the benefits could continue for decades.
The benefits for families in executing a plan can reap enormous financial rewards - which brings greater happiness through reducing financial stress.
The primary advantage of having a sophisticated will is that they include optional testamentary trusts. Where a testamentary trust is used, income can be split amongst children and there are preferential tax rates for distributions to minors under testamentary trusts.