Genders and Partners | Science Fiction in Estate Planning

Science Fiction in Estate Planning

Genders and Partners | Science Fiction in Estate Planning

Could there ever be a legal expectation of a “use-by date” for humans?

We might scoff at such an outlandish notion, and relegate it to science-fiction, but should we be so quick to dismiss it entirely?

If Walt Disney wants to spend his own money to cryogenically freeze his body immediately after his death, in the hope that one day medical science will be able to cure him, then most people would probably shrug and say “So what – it doesn’t affect me.”

But what if a person with limited assets wanted to do this, with the effect that their entire deceased estate would be consumed by the expense.  Would the law (driven by societal expectation) permit that person’s children to over-rule the deceased’s wishes, switch-off the freezer and spend the savings?

You might argue that the person was already dead, but does this automatically forfeit all human rights, and if so are we truly “dead” while there remains some hope for recovery?

Let’s take it one step further: What if the patient has not died, but medical science permits his doctors to preserve his body in a form of coma indefinitely (again in the hope of benefitting from further advances in medical science in the future). If he is still “alive” then should he be permitted to spend his own money, regardless of any limit to the normal human life-span?  Should there be any limits? Who decides?  Should the rest of us be required to contribute towards the expense of his longevity (via Medicare & Centrelink, funded by our taxes)?

The Best New Year’s Resolution to Help Your Family

The Best New Year’s Resolution to Help Your Family

Another year has passed and 2018 is already here. The New Year is a time of optimism and noble resolutions to quit bad habits, get organised, pay off debt and save money. It’s a good time to take a look at your estate plan to make sure it is in place and up to date.

Your estate planning documents determine who will receive your property when you die, and also determine who has the right to make financial and major medical decisions during your lifetime. Getting your estate plan right will save money and heartbreak for you and your family.

Less than half of adult Australians have any estate planning documents in place and many of those people may have outdated documents. Documents that were created when you first got married or when your children were born may need updating years later, after your family and financial situation have changed entirely.

Critical Importance of Making a Will to Protect Children’s Inheritance From Previous Relationships

Critical Importance of Making a Will to Protect Children From Previous Relationships

Blended families include children form previous relationships (step-children).  They are growing quickly in number, but many people do not stop and think about the implications on children from previous relationships if they die without a Will.  It is a dangerous assumption that the law will automatically protect your biological and step children, as numerous scenarios can preclude or reduce the amount that they receive after you die if you do not seek the counsel of an experienced Wills lawyer in Adelaide.

What Happens If You Die Without a Will?
South Australian law provides that, depending on the size of your estate, your children from previous relationships may receive nothing if you die intestate. For estates valued at less than $100,000, the entire estate goes to the surviving spouse or domestic partner unless a valid Will is in place. For larger estates, your spouse is entitled to the first $100,000, your personal belongings and half of the estate’s balance.  Without litigation, at best your children will receive equal shares of the remaining balance (if any).

End-of-Life Planning

End-of-Life Planning

Deciding how you want to live out your last days is a touchy subject for most people, but if you don’t take the time to do so now, you and your loved ones could end up suffering needlessly. While you are still of sound mind, you need to determine whom you trust to make decisions about your lifestyle and medical care if you are ever incapacitated.

An expert Adelaide estate planning lawyer can document your end-of-life wishes with an Advance Care Directive to help you attain peace of mind about your future and get back to the business of living in the moment.

Estate Planning Complications of a Lost Will

Estate Planning Complications of a Lost Will

Failing to keep your estate planning documents safe can cause major complications, for you and your family.

In South Australia, the simple form of Probate, known as a Grant of Probate in Common Form requires production and surrender of the Last Will and Testament of the deceased. This means that the original signed document must be located as a matter of priority. Otherwise the executor may not be able to deal with the assets of the deceased.

If the original Will cannot be located, the situation may not be hopeless. A different form of Probate, called a Grant of Probate in Solemn Form, may be attempted with a draft or copy of the last known Will of the deceased.

How to stop the Government giving away your assets after you die and charging a fortune to do it

Rod Genders

With all the recent talk about Australia’s ageing population, changes to superannuation and media speculation about the possible return of death duties, this timely interview reveals senior legal specialist Rod Genders from the oldest law firm in South Australia dishing the dirt on:

  • how estate companies make their fortunes from “free” Wills
  • how to save your family over $10,000 when they administer your deceased estate
  • how to avoid Government bureaucrats taking control of your finances, accommodation, health & medical decisions
  • plus much more.

Alzheimer’s Month adelaide wills and estate planning

How To Address The Most Overlooked Legal Consequences Of Dementia

How To Address The Most Overlooked Legal Consequences Of Dementia adelaide wills and estate planning

According to Alzheimer’s Australia, there are nearly half a million Australians currently living with dementia, and by 2025, this number is expected to triple. How should families of vulnerable older people help them to protect themselves and their assets?

There are several different types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, Vascular Dementia, Dementia from Parkinson’s disease and similar disorders, Dementia with Lewy bodies, Frontotemporal dementia (Pick’s disease), Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and others.

Some of the early effects are mild. Symptoms can seem to come and go, and people can have good days and bad days.

In the legal world, there is an emphasis on something called “capacity”, which usually refers to a person’s “testamentary capacity”.

Binding Financial Agreements are an Important Part of Modern Estate Planning

Binding Financial Agreements Are an Important Part of Modern Estate Planning

Modern relationships are fraught with tension and complexities when it comes to finances. Looking ahead to the time when you and your partner are established in your careers and have accrued considerable assets, it makes sense to want to protect what is yours should the relationship end.

Marriage, de facto and domestic partnerships

Australian Census data from 2011 shows that the married proportion of the total population has been falling. It is no longer the case that a majority of the population is married. Not so long ago the married proportion was as high as two-thirds of the entire population during the mid-20th century.  In 2011, this has dropped to less than half., and the relative divorce rate in Australia remains one of the highest in the world.

What Are Testamentary Trusts?

What Are Testamentary Trusts?

You can think of a trust as a kind of legal-container, in which assets are held safely for the benefit of one or more people. A testamentary trust is setup in a Will, which appoints one or more trustees to distribute income & capital to beneficiaries over time and with certain guidelines in place.

This offers several benefits over standard Wills. Incorporating a testamentary trust into your Will is not relevant in every situation, but our specialist Adelaide estate planning law firm can help you determine if this legal measure would be of benefit to you and your loved ones.

How a Testamentary Trust Works

There are different types of testamentary trusts. A discretionary testamentary trust generally names a class of beneficiaries from which the trustee can choose to distribute, meaning that the trustee controls the assets and maintains legal protections for them until they are distributed to the end-beneficiary. Sometimes the trustee only distributes income from invested assets to one class of beneficiaries, keeping the capital distribution for a separate class of beneficiaries. In this way, the income-benefit of an asset can be given to a person, without them (or their “predators and creditors” being able to get their hands on the underlying asset.

Estate Planning Challenges: The Ageing of Australia’s Population

Estate Planning Challenges The Ageing of Australias Population

Thanks to modern health care, the ageing population of Australia is growing rapidly. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the demographic of people aged 65 and older increased by 3.7 percent between 1993 and 2013.

These numbers are expected to increase more rapidly over the next decade. If you’re in fairly good health and able to care for yourself well into your golden years, this is great news.

However, no one knows when an illness or injury could strike, requiring expensive long-term care and accommodations. Not planning for the future while you’re still of sound mind and in good health could be disastrous for you and your loved ones—physically, emotionally and financially. This is why it is in your best interest to meet with an Adelaide estate planning lawyer at Genders & Partners as soon as possible.

Legal Documents

When you meet with our experts on estate planning in Adelaide, we will assist you to protect yourself, your family and your assets. In addition to preparing your Will, we will provide advice and assistance on Powers of Attorney, and Advance Care Directives so that your loved ones know who is in charge of making certain decisions for you should you become ill or unable to make decisions for yourself. This leaves no one guessing or arguing over your wishes.