What Is Estate Planning?
The arrangement of your personal and financial affairs prior to your death is commonly referred to as estate planning. While at one time estate planning meant the preparation of your Will, estate planning now also refers to the preparation of an Enduring Power of Attorney and Personal Directive.
In your will you specify how your property is to be distributed after your death. A will allows you to name a personal representative (executor) who is appointed by you to oversee the distribution of your property in accordance with your wishes. You specify the beneficiaries in your Will and what property your beneficiaries will receive. If you have children, a guardian of your children and trust arrangements are specified in your Will. We also consider the assets that may remain outside of your Will, including real property and life insurance, to ensure your needs are taken care of and we maximize the value and efficiency of your executor and beneficiaries.
What Is An Enduring Power Of Attorney?
In an Enduring Power of Attorney, you appoint a person to act as your agent to make decisions on your behalf relating to financial matters while you are alive. It can be prepared in such a way that it takes effect immediately and continues to have effect after you become mentally incapable to manage your own affairs (e.g. dementia, coma, etc.), or only take effect when you are mentally incapable to do so. An Enduring Power of Attorney avoids the need for a dependent adult trusteeship court order and the delay and expense associated therewith.
What Is A Personal Directive?
In a Personal Directive, you appoint a person to act as your agent, to make decisions on your behalf relating to your personal matters while you are alive. A Personal Directive takes effect when you lack capacity to make decisions regarding personal matters.
What Is Estate Administration?
Estate Administration refers to the legal process of administering and distributing your property and estate when you die. If you have a Will, your estate is to be administered in accordance with your Will and we will apply for a Grant of Probate when necessary. If you do not have a Will, your estate will be administered. We assist executors with proper administration of the Estate, including how and when to deal with creditors, beneficiaries, and taxes.
There are circumstances where, with proper planning (for example joint ownership of property), the expense and delay of probate or administration may be avoided.