Estate planning for your family

Date: Nov 25, 2012
Document Type: Article

When planning your estate your paramount consideration should be your family. You need to think about your assets and how they should be distributed when you die. Your estate planning should include thinking about the needs of your family and the dynamic within it.

Your estate planning will reflect your family set up. For example if you have a nuclear family you might decide to leave your entire estate to your spouse who can then pass the estate on to your children. Alternatively, your may decide to give each child their share in conjunction with your spouse. The age and health of your beneficiaries will influence your decision.  Consider whether your spouse is likely to re-partner and if so how you ensure that your children continue to benefit from your estate.

Your family member’s individual circumstances should be taken into consideration in your estate planning. Your children's and spouse’s abilities to handle finances and their knowledge of your finances will be important when you decide how to leave your assets and who you choose as executor. You should also take into account your family member’s personal circumstances. If your child gets married, think carefully whether you want your estate to possibly be fragmented as a result of divorce.

Estate planning for your family also involves considering your future generation. If your grandchildren are young you may wish to set up a trust in their name which they can access when they are older for the purposes of education or investment in real estate.

Estate planning means thinking about who should take care of your children if you are unable to do so. Guardians are necessary when your children are under the adult age of 18. Think about who you wish to raise your children in the event you are unable to and discuss with them whether they are willing to take on the responsibility.

Try to be fair when planning your estate. If you fail to provide adequately for any member of your family there is a risk that a claim could be made against your estate. By properly planning your estate you can avoid the stress and expense of a claim.

If you want to talk to an experienced estate planning lawyer about how to best plan your estate for your family call us on 02 8268 4000.

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