Estate or succession planning co-ordinates the passing of ownership of your assets and control of your affairs to your chosen beneficiaries.
Will making is an important part of the process, but a simple Will may not be sufficient for some people, particularly if you have a family business, non-estate assets or family members who do not always see eye to eye.
If you have:
- a sizeable estate
- a large family
- children who are spendthrifts
- children who have matrimonial problems
- • children who are in business and so would benefit from protecting inherited assets from creditors,
see Testamentary Trusts (below)
Sandhurst Trustees offers a full range of estate planning services.
Testamentary discretionary trusts
If you have family members who do not get along, or if in your Will for any reason you wish to favour a family member as against other members, you need to consider the possibility of a "testator family maintenance" claim against your estate.
There are estate planning strategies for reducing the risk of a "testator family maintenance" claim. These strategies include identifying potential claimants and making some provision for them, ensuring that your executor knows the reasons for the distribution of your estate and building up non-estate assets.
When Sandhurst Trustees prepares your Will, we can assist you in these often difficult decisions.
Some assets which you may regard as "your" asset are not legally owned by you, and so do not usually form part of your estate to pass under your Will. Sometimes these "non-estate" assets may form the bulk of your wealth.
Assets owned jointly, such as the family home, automatically pass to the surviving owner or owners by survivorship.
Superannuation (including related life insurance) is governed by special rules and is usually paid directly to your surviving spouse or dependent children, where applicable. Within boundaries imposed by legislation and the rules of the superannuation fund, a superannuation trustee usually has an independent discretion to decide who will receive superannuation benefits payable upon death.
Similarly, the proceeds of some insurance policies may be paid directly to nominated beneficiaries regardless of any contrary direction in the Will.
If you have a family trust, you need to consider who will be appointed to control the trust after your death.
As part of the estate planning process, all of these non-estate assets may require particular provisions in your Will to ensure they are adequately dealt with and to prevent unintended consequences. This will avoid a situation where one beneficiary obtains the bulk of your wealth through non-estate assets whilst receiving an equal distribution of your estate assets under your Will.
Sandhurst Trustees can assist you regarding these complex issues.