is inheritance tax coming to australia

Is Inheritance Tax coming to Australia?

is inheritance tax coming to australia

The last time Australia had a federal Labor Government, they commissioned a review of Australia’s tax system, and an inheritance tax was one of the key recommendations.

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”.

Becoming an Elder

Becoming an Elder

Becoming an Elder

Turning 50 used to mean that it was time to begin thinking about retiring. That is not the case anymore. Now 50 is just middle-aged, with another quarter-century of busy productive life ahead.

To paraphrase Kermit the frog – “It’s not easy being wise”. I thought turning 50 would mean that things slowed down, calmed down and got easier. Instead, the pace of life seems to be quickening.

Turning 50 is a good time to start thinking about what you’ve learned so far, and reflecting on maybe becoming a “modern elder” and sharing some stories and wisdom with people who are finding their own paths a bit too challenging today.

Estate planning for progressive illness

Estate planning for progressive illness

Estate planning for progressive illness

Estate planning is not solely about preparing a Will, and with progressive illnesses you need to think about estate planning as planning for the future stages of your disease as it progresses.

The life planning portion of estate planning can be very different for a person with a progressive illness than a person without.

Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, Macular Degeneration: there are dozens of illnesses that are progressive and (so far) incurable. They require special care from an estate planning perspective.

Strange but true recent Wills and estates news

Strange but true – recent wills and estates news

Strange but true recent Wills and estates news

Here’s a quick roundup of some interesting news items from the world of Wills and estates.

Hoist on his own petard? Father who denied paternity is excluded from dead child’s estate

A UK Court has decided that the substantial estate of a mentally disabled child who died without a Will should be distributed to his mother and his foster family.

The court excluded the child’s biological father from inheriting a share because he had denied paternity and played no part in the child’s life.

poor mans will podcast by rod genders

The Poor Man’s Will Dangers of Joint Ownership in Estate Planning

The Poor Mans Will Dangers of Joint Ownership in Estate Planning

Joint accounts with other people are a common method for ageing persons seeking help with money management, but this can cause problems.

What is Joint Tenancy

Joint Tenancy is used often by couples as a means of owning shared assets. There are some good reasons to do this, but there are also some drawbacks.

Joint accounts are often referred to as a “poor man’s Will” because they allow an individual to give assets to another upon death without going through the probate process. Some people have the perception from hearing horror stories that probate will consume the entire estate.

World Alzheimer's Month | Genders and Partners

World Alzheimer’s Month

World Alzheimer's Month | Genders and Partners

Next week marks the beginning of World Alzheimer’s Month and Dementia Awareness Month. Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia in Australia is expected to increase to 536,164 by 2025 and to 1,100,890 by 2056.

World Alzheimer’s Day is on 21 September. Here at Genders and Partners, we will be honouring our clients and their caregivers who are battling Alzheimer’s and Dementia by posting on social media in order to spread awareness and start conversations about how to make life easier for those battling through these devastating diseases.

science fiction in estate planning

Science Fiction in Estate Planning

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)?

Elder Abuse – a Silent and Growing Epidemic

Elder Abuse – a Silent and Growing Epidemic

Elder Abuse in Australian Estate Planning

The longer we live, the better our scientists & doctors will become at improving our life-expectancies.   Australia now has one of the highest life expectancies in the world (higher even than USA and UK). As a result we can expect to live longer but we must also expect to require increasing amounts of assistance in our later years.

We are likely to rely upon an increasing amount of care towards the end of our lives, and this care will be provided by people who will be in a position to influence us regarding testamentary gifts.

The role of carer can be quite an intimate one.  Confidences can be shared; friendships are established.  It becomes a “trust” relationship. However the potential inequality in the relationship (the reliance that is necessarily placed upon the stronger person by the weaker person in the relationship) creates a ready climate for exploitation.