Estate Planning

Swanwick Murray Roche – Rockhampton CQ & Queensland Lawyers and Solicitors

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is the process where you and your advisors (typically a lawyer and accountant) sit down and plan out an effective strategy to do the following:

  • balance the risks of litigation on your estate;
  • cater for disabled beneficiaries of your estate;
  • provide for bankrupts (or those who may potentially be bankrupt);
  • care for your underage children;
  • exclude people from your Will who may have an entitlement to claim;
  • take advantage of any tax concessions;
  • set up structures to reduce tax thresholds applicable to the gift for your beneficiaries;
  • plan out management of any businesses/companies during any period which you have lost capacity or after you pass;
  • ensuring that particular assets reach the people that you want to receive the assets; and
  • other common issues.

Estate planning will typically involve the creation of a combination of documents including:

  • A last Will & Testament;
  • Enduring Power of Attorney;
  • Company Power of Attorney;
  • Advance Health Directive;
  • Testamentary Trust Will.

Estate planning also typically involves some transactions taking place during your lifetime including (depending on your circumstances):

  • transfers of property;
  • loan agreements;
  • option to purchase agreements;
  • mortgages on property;
  • occupation & licence agreements;
  • co-owernship agreements;
  • other similar documents.

Perhaps most importantly, estate planning is a considered process designed to maximise the benefit of your estate for your intended beneficiaries.

Some Common Questions that Good Estate Planning Will Deal With
  • What if I'm married but wish to exclude my spouse from my Will?
  • What if I'm married and separated but not divorced (or have completed a property settlement) and want to exclude my spouse from my Will?
  • What if I want to exclude a child or grandchild or stepchild from my Will?
  • Do I need to provide for stepchildren or ex-stepchildren in my Will?
  • What if one of my children (or intended beneficiaries) are bankrupt or soon to be bankrupt? Is there a risk to my estate?
  • Can my daughter-in-law/son-in-law claim part of my estate or take it from my son/daughter?
  • Is there a way to get a better tax rate for my children when they inherit my assets?
  • How do I ensure that my disabled child is cared for after I die? Are there any legal protections and documents I should set up?
  • I have loaned a lot of money in my life to one of my children and none to the other - do I need to deal with this in my estate planning?
  • My son had just split up from his wife. If I die, will my estate be part of the property settlement or will it go to my daughter-in-law?
  • I'm worried that my child's partner will split up with him after I die and take part of my estate in a property settlement. Can I do anything to protect my assets for my child?
  • I have multiple companies and trusts and am not sure how I should split these up fairly for my children.

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