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Beyond the Will:  Do you need Comprehensive Estate Planning? 

28 Feb 2024

3 min read

28 Feb 2024

Comprehensive estate planning is not just a suggestion—it is a necessity for anyone with a trust, company, or complex asset structure and for a smooth transition of your assets after your death. 

In the complex world of estate planning, a Will, while essential, is often just the starting point.  

For individuals with assets held in trusts, companies, or superannuation funds additional documents are required as a part of estate planning. Such assets, while controlled by you, may not be directly owned by you, making them ineligible for inclusion in a Will.  

You may require additional consideration or documentation to deal with a portfolio that includes any of the following:  

  • a discretionary trust for a share portfolio,  
  • a unit trust owning commercial property, 
  • joint venture business, or  
  • a proprietary limited company. 

The additional documents required cover everything from the transfer of shares to the appointment of new directors, appointors and trustees, highlighting the complexity and bespoke nature of effective estate planning. 

If you have any of these in your portfolio then you certainly require some considered estate planning.  

 For example, transferring company shares or appointing new directors is straightforward. The Will alone cannot appoint directors, nor can it ensure the equitable distribution of shares among beneficiaries without potentially triggering legal and logistical challenges. 

Trusts 

The management of trusts requires careful planning. The role of the appointor in a discretionary trust, for example, is crucial, as it allows for the removal and appointment of trustees.  

In extreme cases disputes can arise with trusts as appointors can remove the trustee and appoint another individual to the role. Ensuring the right individual assumes this role upon your passing is paramount to maintaining the integrity of your estate planning and the beneficiaries receiving their distribution from the trust. 

Why you might need more than just a Will:

Asset Ownership: Assets held in trusts, companies, or superannuation funds require specific strategies for transfer of control. 

Legal and Financial Implications: Incorrectly managed, the transfer of assets can lead to significant legal and financial repercussions. 

Family Dynamics: Tailored estate planning is crucial in blended family situations to ensure that all parties are considered and protected according to your wishes. 

Your Next Steps:

Do not wait until it is too late.

Estate planning is a dynamic process that should fully encompass your current circumstances and allow for future changes. If you have any of the assets above and don’t have a comprehensive estate plan, or if your situation has changed since you last reviewed your Will, we urge you to take action now.  

Our Wills & Estates lawyers are here to guide you through the intricacies of estate planning, ensuring that your legacy is preserved and your loved ones are protected. 

Start the process today call us for a consultation. We can help you navigate the complexities of estate planning to secure your legacy and provide peace of mind for you and your family. 

Disclaimer: This article has been prepared for general information purposes and may not apply to your situation. This information should not be relied upon for legal, tax or accounting advice. Your individual circumstances will alter any legal advice given. The views expressed may not reflect the opinions, views or values of PCL Lawyers and belong solely to the author of the content. © PCL Lawyers Pty Ltd.

If you require legal advice specific to your situation please speak to one of our team members today.

About The Author - Philip Drew

Philip is a Senior Associate and leads the Wills and Estates practice group at PCL Lawyers. He advises clients across a wide range of complex estate planning matters, the administration of deceased...

Providing clients with the best possible service and advice.

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