A R Walmsley Solicitors Sydney

DOCUMENTS & GUIDES...

DON'T GO OVER A CLIFF

As a Lawyer, I am often engaged in trying to solve problems after the event a little like one who carefully picks through the wreckage after a car has gone over the cliff. Consequently, I have become passionately interested in estate planning.

Estate planning is creating structures to prevent the car from going over the cliff. It is about seeing problems in the future and putting in place a plan to avoid them for you and for your family. A Will is a part of estate planning. It is a part of the plan to provide for people who are important to you. Why we have allowed Wills to be degraded in importance is beyond me. But, we have. There are very few people who enter the world of purchasing property without relying upon good legal advice. We rely upon the skill and care of Lawyers to make sure that the property we are purchasing is registered in our name and any problems attached to that property are either resolved or brought to our attention.

A Will is not about the purchase or sale of one property. It concerns and governs all of your assets. It is about the conveyance of your home, your investment property, your beach house, your investments, your shares, your business, your farm, and all of your personal property. And yet, we think that a Will is simple and have been told "No, that won't cost much. "

"Well Bill, what do you want to do??" This is the typical question asked of the client when he or she presents themselves to make their Will. But this is only the first stage of preparing the Will. There needs to be a thorough investigation of what Bill actually owns and how he owns it. There also needs to be a careful consideration of Bill's personal history. You see, Bill had been married before and has three children to that marriage. He now lives in a de facto relationship with Mary who also has two children to her marriage.

"What's that got to do with my Will? Nobody ever asked me about this before."

Actually planning Bill's way ahead is difficult. I've only scratched the surface.

"But surely you only ask these questions if the person is extremely wealthy." It is often more important that these questions are asked in modest estates than they are for people who have considerable wealth. The impact of a mistake resulting in a large liability to the Australian Taxation Office or resulting in a protracted Court case will have more affect on a small estate than on a large one.

Estate planning is important for the people who are important to you. Unless you know where you are going, it is highly likely that you and your family will not get there. You need to seek the assistance of a lawyer who is really interested in estate planning and is able to ask the right questions to guide you, assist you and plan with you.

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