Estate Planning Documents You Need to Update After Separation or Divorce in Australia

Estate Planning Documents You Need to Update After Separation or Divorce in Australia

Estate Planning Documents You Need to Update After Separation or Divorce in Australia

When you are going through a separation, you need to update your estate planning documents to protect yourself, your children & family and your assets. Here are some important matters to consider after a relationship breakup.

Other Documents in Addition to Your Will

  1. After separating, you should create a new Will. You should also review your powers of attorney, advance directives, trusts, proxy, delegation, etc. You may well need to formally revoke these important legal documents, so that your ‘ex’ cannot continue to control aspects of your life. However to be valid, these ‘revocation’ documents must be communicated to the individuals whom you had previously appointed, so these are not as confidential as the Will.
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what-happens-if-you-die-without-a-valid-will-after-separation-or-divorce-in-australia

What Happens if You Die Without a Valid Will After Separation or Divorce in Australia

what-happens-if-you-die-without-a-valid-will-after-separation-or-divorce-in-australia

When you are going through a separation, you need to update your estate planning documents to protect yourself, your children & family and your assets. Here are some important matters to consider after a relationship breakup.

Intestacy

  1. If you do not write a Will, the Government has already written one for you – but you might not like what it says.
  2. When you die without a valid Will, that is called ‘intestacy’. The law of the State where die will determine who gets what. Be careful. Not only does this law change from place to place, it also changes from time to time.
  3. In certain cases your assets might even go to the Government itself!
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5 Common Estate Planning Mistakes

5 Common Estate Planning Mistakes

5 Common Estate Planning Mistakes

Winston Churchill famously said “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.

As the oldest law firm in South Australia, and specialising in Trusts, Wills, Estate Planning and Administration of Deceased Estates, we frequently encounter examples of people failing to take the proper steps to create an estate plan that will work properly when the time comes. Some people allow their families to learn the hard way, and fail to shield their families from costly legal messes.

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estate-planning-caring-for-elderly-parents

Estate Planning – Caring for Elderly Parents

estate-planning-caring-for-elderly-parents

Since 1900, life expectancy for Australians has increased by over 30 years. The average life expectancy of a newborn girl used to be 51 years. Now it is 84 years. But how do we care for our elderly relatives once they begin to lose the ability to care for themselves?

Over the past 125 years there have been massive changes in our health and lifestyle. What Australians now die of, and the age at which they die, is very different to what it used to be. Up until 1932, infectious and parasitic diseases caused at least 10% of all deaths each year, with death rates from these diseases highest among the very young and very old. Improvements in living conditions, such as better water supplies, sewerage systems, food quality and health education, have led to overall lower death rates and longer life expectancy at all ages.

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who-gets-the-jewellery

Who gets the jewellery?

who-gets-the-jewellery

When administering a deceased estate, love and law can intersect in the context of grief, causing problems for those left behind. Small things can set-off major family feuds.

For most families, a desire for personal effects is less about what they are worth and more about their sentimental value. Medals, jewellery and personal items are often the subject of strong feelings.

People in grief can behave irrationally, and their high emotions can create powerful symbols out of ordinary objects – a grandfather’s watch, a necklace, the rings mother wore – and in their minds the items become confused with how much the deceased loved them, rather than the market value of the items in question.

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Probate and Estate Administration: Successful Challenge to Deceased Estate from Secret Domestic Partner

Deceased Estate in SA

A recent court decision in Victoria (Estrella v McDonald) is one of Australia’s first reported judgments resolving a claim for family provision involving a same-sex relationship.

The claimant said that he and the deceased had been in a secret de-facto relationship for 30 years, after they met in 1978 when the claimant was 17 and the deceased was 51.

The claimant said that he and the deceased had commenced a sexual relationship and that he had moved away from his family in the Philippines to live with the deceased’s family for several years. During the deceased’s final years, the claimant was living overseas.

During his life, the deceased had denied that the relationship was sexual in nature as he had apparently been embarrassed to publicly or openly acknowledge the relationship, for fear that it may not be accepted by their families or community.

The deceased had made no provision for the claimant in his Will, which solely benefitted the deceased’s children who defended the claimant’s allegations on the basis that their father and the claimant were “just friends” and that the claimant lived in their home as a boarder.

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Starving Last in the Jungle | Genders and Partners | 7 Asset Protection Techniques

Protect your wealth – it’s a jungle out there

The benefits of Asset Protection and Planning

Starving Last in the Jungle | Genders and Partners | 7 Asset Protection Techniques

How many million-dollar lawsuits against homeless people do you hear about? None. That’s because lawsuits aren’t filed against poor people; they are filed against those with enough assets to make the expense of litigation worthwhile.

We all need to maintain an acute awareness of what can happen in ‘the modern jungle.’ None of us want bad things to happen to us and our families, such as bankruptcy, creditors, predators, gold-diggers, the ATO… but we need to keep our guard up against others who may not share our foundational assumptions of fair play and justice. Other, perhaps more aggressive ideologies, could run right over our sweet & trusting natures if we let them.

‘Asset Protection’ is about being prepared for possible outcomes (contingencies) and doing what you can to minimise the damage and prevent the worst outcome from happening.

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Where Did My Pension Go@2x

Where Did My Pension Go

Where Did My Pension Go@2x

In our shrinking world where travel and communication are faster and easier than ever before, it seems that ‘foreigners’ are being officially targeted by every government in the world.

The issue is everywhere in the media at present. Foreign corporations not paying enough local tax. Cashed-up foreigners trying to buy big chunks of our real-estate. From anti-migration walls to offshore detention facilities, it seems that the people holding the purse-strings are blaming foreigners as the reason for our economic decline.

So how likely is it that the Government would try to reduce the pension entitlements for Australians from migrant backgrounds as part of a budget-savings measure?

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Negative Gearing hot potato or poison pill?

Negative Gearing – hot potato or poison pill?

Negative Gearing hot potato or poison pill?

In Australia over the last 30 years, any spending in pursuit of rental income from an investment property is tax-deductible, unless the spending is of a capital or private/domestic nature. This is known as ‘negative gearing’.

The owner can claim a deduction for the cost of repairing an investment property, but not initial repairs when the property was first purchased.

Some commentators think that negative gearing has distorted the housing market. They point to negative gearing as one of the main factors in housing affordability having halved in real terms over the last 30 years since negative gearing has been in place.

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Increased tax on Super income

Increased tax on Super income

Increased tax on Super income

Earnings from superannuation accounts for retirees in the pension phase are currently tax­free.
In April 2015 the Federal Opposition (Labor’s Bill Shorten) proposed that Super earnings $75,001 and above be taxed at 15 per cent. The Labor Party estimates that would affect about 60,000 people and raise $9.2 billion over 10 years.
I predict that the Government will introduce a threshold above which extra rates of income tax will apply to Super income. Whether that threshold is $75,000 or $150,000 or some other number, I don’t know. But I’d be willing to bet that it’s too big a honey-pot for governments to resist for much longer.

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