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Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid: How a Solicitor Can Help

Estate lawyers to protect your assets in sydney

Estate planning is a critical aspect of financial and personal management that often gets overlooked until it’s too late. Without proper planning, your assets and final wishes may not be distributed according to your desires, potentially leading to disputes, unnecessary taxes, and legal challenges for your loved ones. 

To navigate the complexities of estate planning effectively and avoid costly mistakes, engaging the services of a knowledgeable solicitor is invaluable. Read on as we explore five key areas where solicitors can provide expert guidance to ensure your estate plan is comprehensive, legally sound, and tailored to your specific needs.

Is Your Will Legally Binding?

One of the most fundamental aspects of estate planning is having a legally binding will in place. A will allows you to designate an executor to carry out your instructions after you die. If you don’t have a will your estate might be governed by intestacy laws potentially leading to assets being distributed differently than what you intended. A lawyer who specialises in wills and estates can help create a will that reflects your wishes and ensures that your family is taken care of as per your wishes.

What Does Estate Planning Look Like To The Average Australian?

A survey conducted by Charles Sturt University and The University of Adelaide found that roughly half of adult Australians have a will, but nearly half of those with a will do not feel that it is up to date or adequately expresses their wishes. 

The same survey indicated that Australians are more unprepared for disability and incapacity than for death, with only a small proportion having measures in place for such eventualities. The survey had a gender distribution of respondents with 50.2% male and 49.8% female out of 1,004 respondents.

Approximately 2,000 estates per year become contested in Australian courts, with an average cost of $52,000 each in legal fees and expenses.

New research highlighted that 70% of a sample of more than 1,000 Australians had not yet prepared a will. It was also noted that there was a 127% increase in traffic to a guide on how to create a will since January 2020.

70% of Australians have not prepared a will

How Do You Choose the Right Executor for Your Estate?

Choosing the executor is the first step in estate planning. The executors role involves handling estate affairs, such as overseeing assets, settling debts and distributing inheritance to heirs. It’s common for individuals to select an executor based on close connections without considering essential factors like competency, availability and neutrality. Seeking advice from a professional can assist in identifying an fair executor to ensure smooth estate management with minimal issues or delays.

Are You Prepared for Estate Taxes?

Inheritance taxes have the potential to reduce the worth of your inheritance if not handled correctly in your estate plan. A lawyer specialising in estate planning can guide you on the tax consequences of your inheritance. Additionally estate lawyers can help you adopt tactics to minimise tax burdens. This could involve setting up trusts, transferring assets as gifts while alive or utilising tax saving opportunities permitted by legislation. By taking steps to address inheritance taxes you can safeguard a portion of your wealth for future generations and ensure that your possessions are allocated as per your desires.

How Can You Safeguard Your Estate from Legal Challenges?

Disagreements and legal issues may arise during the process of managing an estate especially if beneficiaries feel upset or believe that the will does not accurately represent the deceased’s wishes. A lawyer can assist in organising your estate plan to reduce the chances of disputes and conflicts ensuring that your instructions are carried out smoothly and effectively. This might involve recording your intentions, explaining the reasons behind your choices and addressing areas of disagreement from the start. By taking measures to safeguard your estate against disputes you can offer reassurance for yourself and those close to you.

When Should You Update Your Estate Plan?

Estate planning isn’t something you do once; it’s a process that needs regular updates to match any changes in your life or preferences. Events like getting married, divorced, having kids or experiencing shifts in your financial status may require adjustments to your estate plan. A lawyer can help you review your plan periodically to make sure it stays relevant and in line with your goals. By staying on top of things and keeping your estate plan current you can steer clear of any issues and ensure that your desires are always accurately represented.

Planning your estate is a diverse procedure that demands careful thinking and professional advice. By collaborating with a lawyer versed in wills and estates you can steer clear of mistakes and guarantee that your estate strategy accurately mirrors your desires, and safeguards your possessions whilst supporting your family. Don’t risk leaving your legacy to uncertainty.

Reach Out To Our Wills & Estate Law Attorneys Today!

When it comes to securing your future, there’s no question: wills and estate law attorneys are the go-to experts. Seeking professional advice from these legal pros ensures your wishes are properly documented and legally binding. 

At McDonnell Schroder, our team of dedicated will and estate law attorneys are here to guide you every step of the way. Don’t leave your legacy to chance, reach out to us today and gain peace of mind knowing your affairs are in the best hands possible. Let’s safeguard your future together.

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