Thinking about your last wishes after your death is not necessarily a pleasant thing to do, but a responsible person will prepare a will or estate documents to ensure their wishes are known and protected after they are gone. While you can often draft your own will, it may be recommended that you have a lawyer prepare this information for you. Note why that is and how their professional services can benefit you.
Financial power of attorney
While many people think about what will happen to their material possessions after they die, few people consider what will happen to their estate if they should become incapacitated and unable to manage their finances while still alive. Having a financial power of attorney as part of your estate plan can ensure that certain bills are paid and that none of your material possessions or monies are taken from you before your death. This power of attorney can also ensure that your heirs have proper access to your finances, if you so choose. A lawyer can note what arrangements might be addressed with a financial power of attorney, so nothing is omitted and you know your wishes will be respected both before and after your passing.
Joint ownership before you die
One way to avoid arguments over your final wishes and bypass probate court is to create a joint ownership of certain items now, before your death. For example, if you were to open a joint bank account with someone before your passing, that person may have full ownership of that account after you die, and no one could contest that ownership. A lawyer might also suggest putting certain material items in your name and the name of someone else, so that you still have ownership of those items before your passing, but know that there will be no question about their inheritance after you're gone.
Spending down assets
If your estate would be subject to any type of tax, or if it would need to go through a probate court in order for funds to be dispersed after your death, a lawyer might note if spending down or transferring assets before your passing would help to avoid these complications. In some cases, a small estate might not be subject to the same types of taxes or probate reviews as larger estates, so a lawyer might suggest that you buy prepaid funeral services or otherwise reduce your tangible assets and finances, to avoid unnecessary financial complications after your death.Share
11 July 2018
I love watching legal dramas from all different countries. I often call up my friend who is a lawyer to ask her about whether the cases I have seen on the latest drama are realistic or if they wouldn't happen that way in Australia. It's so interesting to me to see the changes that they make to make the stories flow more convincingly as well as the differences between the law in Australian compared to other countries. This blog is for other fans of legal dramas like me and has some tips on the best places to get real legal advice (hint, it's not on the TV!).