Intestacy is all but a guarantee that your loved ones will suffer a needlessly complex and expensive legal process after your death. Your best protection is to make your wishes known by consulting with a specialist Adelaide Wills lawyer at Genders & Partners.
Family Disputes and Costly Legal Battles
A Will dictates how your assets are distributed and names executors to lawfully carry out your wishes. Without a Will in place, you have no say in who inherits what. There are intestacy laws in every state and territory of Australia that determine the distribution of assets among your nearest blood relatives, but your loved ones may dispute the process and cause drawn-out legal battles, the costs of which are deducted from the estate. These state laws vary from time to time and from place to place, so the precise formula which decides who will inherit your assets depends on when and where you die.
Fees and Taxation with Intestacy
You should also consider other costs that can reduce the size of your estate if you die without a Will. Administering your estate is more expensive when outside parties must be involved and compensated for their services. Further, one of the aims of estate planning is to minimise taxation on your assets. If you die intestate, your family can generally expect to pay the government more revenue, in the form of Court and other fees, capital gains tax and income tax. When Death Duties or Inheritance Tax returns to Australia (and it will, you can be sure – Australia is the only western democracy in the world not to have this type of taxation, and the Henry Tax Review has formally recommended that the Australian Federal Government re-instate this type of tax), intestate estates will be far worse off than carefully planned estates with a valid Will.
Maximising the Benefits to Your Loved Ones
Having a Will can also prevent third parties from getting their hands on a piece of your estate. For example, if one of your beneficiaries is going through a divorce or bankruptcy, you can create a testamentary trust to prevent that person’s spouse, creditors or predators from gaining access to the assets. Dying intestate offers no protection to your loved ones in the case of legal troubles, and numerous third parties can consider the inheritance fair game.
Estate Planning in Adelaide You Can Trust
For Wills and testamentary trusts in Adelaide that protect your assets and ensure that your wishes are honoured, contact Genders & Partners today to schedule your free telephone consultation. Our firm specialises in Adelaide estate planning, and we look forward to helping protect yourself, your family and your assets.