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Succession Planning For Your Business

Do you know what will happen to your business if one of your company’s shareholders dies or loses capacity?

Succession Planning For Your Business

If you are in a business with shareholders, your business faces a major potential threat if one of your fellow shareholders dies or becomes permanently incapacitated.

Business Succession Planning is part of modern integrated estate planning, and your interest in your business may be a substantial part of your personal net worth.  Good planning through buy/sell agreements and appropriate insurance can make all the difference. For many businesses, if no pre-existing arrangements are in place, the death of a shareholder can mean their shares in the company will go to the beneficiaries of that person’s deceased estate.

Genders and Partners

The Dangers of DIY Probate

The Dangers of DIY Probate

In most deceased estates if you’re the executor of a Will, you will have to obtain a Grant of Probate from the Supreme Court of South Australia. This grant officially acknowledges that the Will is valid and that you have the right to carry out the administration of the estate.

The Grant is an Order of the Court which lets the world know that a particular piece of paper is the Last Will and Testament of a deceased person, which permits asset-holders like banks and share registries to transfer assets in the name of the deceased into the custody of another person (the executor named in the probated Will).

Obtaining a Grant of Probate is not a simple matter. You should get the assistance of an estate planning lawyer in Adelaide, and like do-it-yourself Will kits, DIY probate can be fraught with unforeseen complications.

What is Involved in the South Australian Probate Process?

An application for a Grant of Probate is not merely a matter of completing a form and paying a fee. Preparing a probate application is an exacting process whose complexity increases with certain types and location of assets owned by the deceased. It is not often a straightforward exercise to obtain & produce the necessary Court documents, and if every one of them isn’t completed according to stringent legal requirements, or if the Will contains any error or inaccuracy (not uncommon) or evidence of potential tampering, your application will almost certainly be requisitioned by the Court. Rectification of the issue will probably involve creation of additional affidavits and refiling of documents, costing the estate even more time and money. Far better to instruct a specialist Adelaide Wills lawyer in the first place.

Genders and Partners | Probate and Estate Administration - Lawyer Adelaide

Probate and Estate Administration Adelaide: Some Interesting Cases

Estate Planning: Some Interesting Cases

Hornby v Cavenagh

Supreme Court of NSW

This was a claim under the New South Wales equivalent of the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act. The plaintiff was a niece of the deceased and sought to show that she was an eligible person to make a claim under the Act. To satisfy the requirement of an eligible person, the plaintiff had to show that there was some dependency on the deceased, and that she was a member of the deceased’s household.

Although the plaintiff had resided in the same household as the deceased for four years during the 1980s and was partly dependent on the deceased in this time, the relationship in the last 12 years of the deceased’s life was not close.

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Death Duties May Be On The Way Back

Death Duties May Be On The Way Back

On 15 October 2009 the most senior tax-policy advisor to the Australian Federal Government, Dr Ken Henry (Chair – Australia’s Future Tax System Review Panel and Secretary to the Treasury) gave an Address to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.

In that address he identified 6 areas of future opportunities and challenges governments will need to address in respect to taxation.  At the very top of his list was:

“the ageing of the population, posing challenges for the financing of retirement incomes and of increasing health and aged care needs”.

Dr Henry said that taxes levied on broader bases would be more efficient policy tools, probably more equitable and certainly more transparent ways of raising revenue. Without such tools, governments would otherwise be compelled to continue to rely on bad taxes to achieve their spending objectives.

What does this mean, and why should you care?

A number of senior political commentators have recently speculated in mainstream Australian newspapers, that Death Duties, Estate Taxes or Inheritance Levies might well be one of the options likely to be seriously explored, as part of the current tax-reform inquiry.

The re-introduction of death duties could have a severe impact on most deceased estates, unless great care has been exercised to create an effective estate-plan. This is just one example of how a change in the law could drastically affect you & your family.  Make sure that you have a valid, effective & integrated estate plan.  And keep it up to date.

Probate and Estate Administration Adelaide- How To Create An Expensive Disaster For Your Family To Fix After Your Death

How To Create An Expensive Disaster For Your Family To Fix After Your Death

  1. Write your own Will. Use one of those cheap kits from the post office. The cheaper the better – why waste money on expensive stationery?
  2. Even better, download something from the interweb, preferably from another country. Try to get something that doesn’t have any creation date on it –it won’t be hard – that way you can be pretty sure that your Will won’t comply with local laws here and now.
  3. Don’t pay for professional legal advice. Just do it yourself. Type up (or better yet handwrite in a shaky hand) your own Will. Just in case, write up several Wills all on the same day – each slightly different.
  4. Make your gift to your daughter conditional upon her divorcing her loser husband. Put your son’s legacy in trust for 50 years, unless he completes 6 years in the army. Tell your wife that she can only keep the house as long as she never even thinks about another man AND never again speaks to her interfering busy-body mother.
  5. When writing your Will, talk about the assets in incredible detail – down to the serial number on your television. Then forget to keep track of those assets throughout your lifetime. Sell some, give some away, and junk some. It will be good for a laugh as you look up from Purgatory at your family trying to work out which assets are actually part of your estate, and who is to get what.
  6. Also, don’t bother trying to distinguish between your own assets outright, compared with assets that you might own jointly with someone else, or assets that are owned in a trust or company. Just treat them all the same.
  7. Try not to talk about your testamentary wishes with your family. After all they won’t get anything until after you’re dead, so they can jolly well wait until then.
  8. Be as secretive as possible with your own family, especially about your financial affairs. Don’t talk about what you are planning to do. Passively encourage your spouse and kids to assume they know what you want. Leave it vague enough so no one really knows.