Importance of discussing estate planning with the family

Date: Feb 22, 2013

When planning for the future, estate planning needs to play an integral part in that discussion as your family's welfare can be at stake.

As dying is as likely as paying taxes, having a conversation with your significant other about what you want to occur after you die is a good idea.

This is especially important because you may forget to tell your partner where in the house you hide the will. According to lawhandbook.org, that could present a problem if you never inform your significant other, where it actually is - and if you don't even keep it in the house, that would present some issues.

If your are unable to find your partner's will with a bank, solicitor, accountant or the likely trustee - an advertisement can be placed in a daily newspaper in a bid to locate your loved one's last will and testament.

There is also another form of intestacy - known as partial intestacy. This is where the will has only included a portion of the estate, not the entire items.

The problem with intestacy is simply that you are not able to have control over who gets what is in your estate. And this issue extends itself when your family is a different makeup from the traditional nuclear structure.

If step children are involved, for example, the court's distribution of the estate may differ from how you intended the split of assets to work. And in an extension of that, if your affairs are complicated and you failed to provide how you wanted the estate to be split up, it would be even harder to accurately distribute the items.

Furthermore, intestacy can result in multiple applicants for the job of administration. Because the court decides who is charged with the role of administrator, a number of people can apply. The court usually gives the role to whoever was likely to inherit the bulk of the estate and as a result, there can be a debate as to who gets the role.

No matter what your plans are for your estate, you should discuss them with your significant other and with an experienced lawyer who can assist in protecting your family.

If you are looking to discuss comprehensive estate planning, talk to an experienced wills and estates lawyer with Craddock Murray Neumann on 02 8268 4000.