Genders and Partners

Estate Planning for Farmers in South Australia

Estate Planning for Farmers in South Australia

How many horror stories have you heard about farming families getting torn apart when the farm-owner dies?  In my work as a lawyer specialising in estate planning and probate, I’ve heard quite a few.

They often have a common theme – where a relative (typically a younger son) worked for low wages on the family farm for years, with the expectation that the property would be passed on to them after the owner’s death.

There is a sense of expectation & entitlement – of having earned their inheritance – often fuelled by a lack of discussion or planning by the old owner. Unfortunately, this scenario frequently creates significant problems within the family, especially if there is more than one child wishing to benefit from the farm.  Often the farmland and the business it supports are the major assets of the deceased estate.  It can be difficult enough to generate a decent income from the whole – breaking up the farm to give every child a share may mean that the family farming business cannot continue to be viable.

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The Growing Need for Advance Care Directives

The Growing Need for Advance Care Directives

A 2013 report from Alzheimer’s Disease International warns that the number of older people needing care globally is set to nearly treble by 2050 from 101 million currently to 277 million.

Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia or senility. Symptoms include loss of memory, mood changes, and problems with communicating and reasoning.

The report reveals that as the world population ages, the traditional system of informal care by family, friends and the community will need much greater support.

This means that increasing numbers of people aged 60 or over will require long-term care.  This will put huge pressure on families, both emotionally and financially. Carers often have to give up work to look after elderly relatives.

This epidemic of dementia will have specific legal consequences for patients and the people caring for them.  In particular, their loss of mental capacity to make decisions in their own best interests, creates a need to put in place an appropriate system of delegated authority.

5 Common Estate Planning Mistakes

Estate Planning Disasters of the Rich and Famous

Estate Planning Disasters of the Rich and Famous

Death and taxes (and illness) may be unavoidable … but they don’t have to ruin your family or your business.  Make the effort to protect the people you really care about.  Here are some lessons from famous people who made some BIG mistakes in their Wills and estate planning.

Celebrity: Allan Scott

Mistake: Not Managing Family Expectations in Will

In a Supreme Court claim in South Australia, two of Mt Gambier trucking magnate Allan Scott’s daughters settled claims against their father’s estate for more than $12 million each, more than triple what each had been left in Mr Scott’s Will, which he had signed while he was ill in the weeks before his death.  The millionaire businessman’s widow also has made a claim against her husband’s estate, yet to be resolved. In his Will, Mr Scott had left the bulk of his $600 million estate to two favoured children.

Wills and Estate Planning Adelaide: Estate Planning In Adelaide For Same-Sex Couples

Estate planning is one of many legal issues facing lesbian and gay couples. Increasing numbers of LGBT parents are raising children.

Estate Planning In Adelaide For Same-Sex Couples

In the law, there are recognised categories of parenthood, including biological (genetic), gestational, surrogate, and social.
Children raised by same-sex parents may be the product of adoption, artificial insemination, surrogate birth, or biological parenthood, yet in most cases only one partner is recognised as the legal parent, with the other parent remaining a legal stranger to the child.

The phrase “nuclear family” has traditionally referred to a married heterosexual couple raising their own biological children. Nowadays, more children are living in non-traditional families than ever before. This can lead to tricky legal issues if the couple ends their relationship and the non–legally recognised parent tries to maintain contact with the child.

Genders and Partners

Benefits of a Discretionary Trust

Benefits of a Discretionary Trust

Discretionary trusts are flexible estate planning tools that can offer you many advantages, some of which include:

1. Revocable. Because the needs of family members may change over time, a discretionary trust normally allows you to modify trust provisions or change the beneficiaries.

2. Private. A discretionary trust may avoid or reduce the costs and delays of Probate – which is the Court process that oversees the administration of your estate. Because a discretionary trust is not subject to public scrutiny, your beneficiaries and the specific amounts or percentages they receive remain confidential.

3. Continuous. Assets put in a discretionary trust stay under the control of the trustee, until you choose differently. When the trust is established, you can name a successor trustee who will carry on financial responsibilities in the event of your incapacity or death.

4. Flexible. You may add other assets to the trust during your life. The discretionary trust can be especially useful if you own real estate in another state by eliminating the need to have a separate probate proceeding in the other state.

Genders and Partners

Wills and Estate Planning Adelaide: Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning for New and Young Parents

Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning for New and Young Parents

New and young parents often mistakenly consider that have too few assets to bother with creating an estate plan.

They probably have a home with just a small amount of equity, and hopefully they have decent jobs, and reasonable prospects for advancement.

Most of us have superannuation, and many super funds carry life insurance.  In dollar terms, it is not uncommon for young people to be worth more dead than alive.

When considering estate planning they should think about naming a guardian for their children and to make sure their money goes to the kids.

Most people grossly underestimate the money it will take to raise their young children and educate them. They frequently only have a small fraction of the life insurance that is needed. Fortunately, term insurance is relatively inexpensive for young people.

They should consider establishing a Trust to receive the insurance and other assets. This can be done through a Testamentary Trust created in their Will, or as a Discretionary Trust.

A trust provides some asset protection, and professional management for the funds.

Genders and Partners

Wills and Estate Planning Adelaide: The Benefit of Advance Directives

The Benefit of Advance Directives

A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows one in four elderly people require someone else to make decisions about their medical care at the end of their lives.

These findings support the value of advance healthcare directives as a means of making end-of-life treatment preferences known (sometimes called anticipatory directives or living wills).

The study found that such formal estate planning documents improved the likelihood that a patient’s wishes would be followed and reduced emotional trauma among family members.

The results illustrate the value of people making their end-of-life wishes known in an advance directive (living will) as well as designating someone to make treatment decisions for them before the end-of-life stage.  This is why both a Natural Death Advance Directive and a Medical Power of Attorney are necessary parts of a modern integrated estate plan.  Each document fulfils a specific purpose.

The Associated Press reports: “In the study, those who spelled out their preferences in living wills usually got the treatment they wanted. Only a few wanted heroic measures to prolong their lives. The researchers said it’s the first accounting of how many of the elderly really end up needing medical decisions made for them.”

Genders and Partners

Wills and Estate Planning Adelaide: How Estate Planning Trusts Can Protect You and Yours

How Estate Planning Trusts Can Protect You and Yours

Estate planning and trusts are all about planning, not only for your own future, but also the financial well-being of your family and loved ones after you’re gone. However, the reality of life can often get in the way of a smooth transition – divorce, second marriages, step kids, long-term illness and other family changes can sometimes make life and plans unpredictable.

Protecting your wealth & assets and the financial well-being of your family is about a lot more than simply parcelling-out your assets – it’s about providing for yourself & your family members in a way that’s responsible and specifically addresses your personal situation.

Many people make the assumption that estate planning and trusts are only for incredibly rich people. That is wrong.

A family discretionary trust is a very versatile estate planning tool that allows you to address inheritance goals for your beneficiaries – who may still be children, are disabled, are from a mixed family  – and a trust might be the answer to difficult questions like who will manage your assets if you or they become incapacitated.

Typically, when a child inherits money, it is invested for him and held until he or she turns 18 or older. Of course, giving a young person access to a large amount of money at the age of 18 can be dangerous and detrimental to their long-term financial health if they lack maturity or sufficient financial wisdom.  Some parents think that the lure of fast cars and endless parties may be too great a temptation for their beneficiaries to handle at age 18, and so they specify an older age, frequently 21 or 25.