Estate & Succession Planning Law

Gold Coast Estate Planning

Estate and succession planning involves more than simply making a will and our Gold Coast estate lawyers can guide you through prudent planning to protect you against uncertainties including accident, illness and death and provide security for you and your family’s financial and health wellbeing.

A well rounded estate and succession plan should address all your concerns including:

  • if you unexpectedly lost mental capacity through accident or illness, you have appointed an attorney to manage your legal, financial and health decisions on your behalf
  • when you die, that your family survive financially by receiving the benefit of insurance proceeds through carefully considered planning
  • that your estate assets pass to those you intend including your children (particularly relevant with blended families) and where necessary, managed by a trustee for any children or beneficiaries who may be at risk, financial unstable, minors or under disability
  • your will addresses potential surprises, disputes or challenges from family members upon your death; and
  • that your executor can realise your interest in your business through carefully planned succession or buy/sell agreements and appropriate insurance policies

Our estate and succession lawyers apply their extensive knowledge and experience in commercial and tax structures to assist clients plan and implement effective wills and succession plans (including for business) which:

  • support practical measures to provide for loved ones
  • through asset protection structures (including testamentary trusts) minimises family risks and ensuring effective management of estate assets
  • ensure assets are not left exposed to creditors
  • manage tax implications
  • reduce the risk of disputes
  • ensure your assets are distributed as you intend; and
  • ensures succession of business with effective buy out provisions and exit strategies upon the happening of a critical event (such as incapacitation, illness or death).

We provide personalised advice and can work with your financial planner and accountant to provide you with a range of options to achieve your estate and succession plans, including:

  • wills and estate planning
  • testamentary discretionary trusts
  • blended family strategies
  • protecting ‘at risk’ or spendthrift beneficiaries
  • disability trusts to protect disabled beneficiaries
  • family loan agreements
  • family law financial agreements
  • guardianship
  • buy sell and succession agreements; and
  • powers of attorney to manage personal, health and financial matters.

Our estate and succession planning team look forward to assisting you with your estate planning needs.

Wills

A Will is a legal document which provides direction as to how you wish your assets (such as personal property, family home, bank accounts and insurance policies) to be distributed upon your death. Your estate is administered by an executor who will be responsible for your property and for payment of all outstanding debts and taxes …

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Testamentary Trusts

A testamentary trust is not that dissimilar to a family trust (set up during one’s lifetime) with the primary differences being that a testamentary trust is established by your will and comes into effect upon your death and there are different taxation rules that apply to testamentary trusts.

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Estate Administration

Administering an estate can be an overwhelming task involving complexity and considerations which often fall on an individual or individuals still in the process of grieving. Our professional and compassionate estate lawyers aim to assist executors with the smooth administration of the deceased estate quickly, painlessly and cost effectively.

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Probate

Probate is the formal proof of the validity of the last will of a deceased person and is granted by the Supreme Court. It provides the executor with the legal authority to carry out the intentions of the deceased as expressed in the will. To obtain a grant of probate, it is necessary to follow prescribed legal procedure which includes..

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Letters of Administration

A grant of Letters of Administration may be necessary where the deceased died without a will (known as intestate) and provides the administrator with the legal authority to administer the estate and call in and sell and distribute the estate assets in accordance with the rules of intestacy.

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Challenging a Will and Estate Litigation

There may be a fair basis for challenging one’s will, particularly if you believe that you have been inadequately provided for or the will maker has been unduly influenced in signing his or her will or did not have testamentary capacity. Similarly, we work with executors or administrators in defending any claims against the estate or the validity of the will.

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Family Provision Applications

Please see Estate Litigation/Family Provision claims.

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a legal document which enables you to appoint another person as your attorney to make decisions or sign documents on your behalf. A General Power of Attorney gives someone (your ‘attorney’) the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf and is a convenient way to ensure that your affairs can be appropriate handled

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Advance Health Directive

An Advance Health Directive is a formal way of giving instructions for your future health care and comes into effect only if you are unable to make your own decisions. It allows you to express your wishes in a general or specific way as to the medical treatments and health care and medical advice should be sought as part of the process.

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Superannuation and Binding Death Nominations

Consideration should be given to your superannuation as part of your estate and succession plan and it is important that you understand where your superannuation will be paid on your death. Does superannuation pass under my will?  Your superannuation is governed by the agreement that you entered into with the trustees…

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Estate Planning Tax Implications

How you structure your will, can make a difference to the tax paid on any death benefits paid from your superannuation. Tax death benefits paid to a spouse or dependent child are exempt under the Income Tax Assessment Act (ITAA). Death benefits paid to other recipients are subject to tax.

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Business Succession Planning

An integral component of good succession planning for business owners is the succession of their business (or interest in a business) either upon retirement or the happening of a critical event such as death, incapacitation or illness. If you own an interest in your business as a partner or shareholder, a buy/sell agreement…

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