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Cleary Hoare, Australia's pre-eminent taxation and capital protection law firm for private business, has over 30 years experience.

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Estate Planning

How will you leave your estate to your children so that your legacy – what you have spent your lifetime building – is not lost if they suffer divorce or insolvency?  Can you protect your personal estate now against risks that you face in business?

Good estate planning is designed to protect your assets for your family, both during your lifetime and after your death.  The key is structuring ownership of your assets, both now and under your Will, to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands if your worst fears are ever realised.  This requires expert advice to achieve the maximum protection whilst minimising tax restructure costs.  It is vital that you sit down and think through these issues.  Strategic, proactive advice from specialist tax lawyers and financial advisors is crucial to getting this right.

Effective estate planning will pay for itself many times over if ever called upon.  There is no shortage of court cases caused by poor estate planning which results in distress and unnecessary expense for the surviving family. Inadequate estate planning through the use of generic "off-the-shelf" products can lead to tragic consequences for both your family and your business.  To understand the importance of estate planning see our newsletter story from August 2013 with a real life scenario from one of our clients where we became involved too late!

When working with Cleary Hoare, you can be confident we will always cover the following critical objectives:

  • Protecting your assets from attack by the family court / bankruptcy / creditors 
  • Ensuring your wishes are fulfilled after your death
  • Minimising disputes amongst beneficiaries
  • Providing you (and your children after you have gone) with maximum tax effectiveness and flexibility

Why should you consider Estate Planning?

An effective estate plan results from getting the right advice and acting on it.  Consider the following facts:

  • Over 46% of marriages in Australia are expected to end in divorce (almost 50,000 divorces were granted in Australia last year)
  • Only 50% of eligible people make a Will
  • Over 20,000 people are declared bankrupt in Australia every year
  • Family members and dependants (including defacto spouses) can and do dispute the "fairness" of a Will under the Succession Act

These facts can result in family disputes, loss of assets to others outside of the family and high legal costs!

The elements for effective estate planning include:

  • Getting the right advice from estate planning specialists
  • Quarantining your personal assets from business and other risks now
  • Separating valuable business assets from business risks now
  • Preparing a Will that will protect assets from mishaps after you die, such as the divorce of one of your children
  • Preparing an Enduring Power of Attorney so that your estate can be managed effectively if you loose capacity 
  • Integrating your estate planning initiatives with your financial and business development plans

If you wish to know more about estate planning, please contact one of our specialist estate planning lawyers.