Jun

27

Asset Protection

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Asset protection is an integral component of effective estate planning and the preparation of your will. It is imperative in estate planning to ensure that not only are your own assets protected, but also any assets that may be inherited by your beneficiaries. It is often the case that substantial inheritances are eroded by creditors, family breakdown, tax and other circumstances that could have been avoided by an effective estate planning strategy.

ASSET PROTECTION STRATEGIES

Different strategies can be implemented when considering your Estate Planning needs. These strategies can include:

a)       Testamentary Trusts – Testamentary Trusts ensure that assets from the Estate are distributed to a trust controlled by a beneficiary, rather than being owned by the beneficiary themselves. This has many benefits such as tax minimization, generational wealth maximization, and importantly, asset protection if the beneficiaries personal assets are under attack;

b)       Transferring Assets – In some instances it may be worthwhile transferring assets into trusts, companies or other entities to minimize assets that fall into an Estate;

c)       Binding Death Nominations in Superannuation –  binding death nominations have the effect of the Superannuation Asset, and any life insurance policies that may be attached to Superannuation, being paid directly to the nominated beneficiary, rather than falling into the Estate;

d)       Severing joint tenancies, or creating joint tenancies for the ownership of assets – If an asset is owned by joint tenants, this mean that the deceased owners share in the asset automatically transfers to the surviving owner. If an asset is owned as tenants in common it means that the deceased owners share in the asset is dealt with in accordance with their Will. Depending on an individual’s circumstances, joint tenancies can be severed or created for the ownership of an asset;

e)       Life Insurance – to ensure that the debts of the deceased person are paid out, and that sufficient funds are available for surviving beneficiaries, a life insurance policy can be obtained to achieve this at death;

f)        Business Succession – it is very important that a plan or agreement for your business is put into place to ensure that the transfer of the business asset is seamless upon death, rather than other business owners being left in a potential argument with your beneficiaries.  Again, life insurance policies are a great way to fund the transfer of the business on death.

g)      Binding Financial Agreements – are agreements entered into between spouses that set out how assets are to be distributed in the event of a relationship breakdown.  They bind the person’s estate and are therefore an effective estate planning tool.

Very detailed advice and analysis is needed to ensure that Asset Protection objectives are achieved in the context of Estate Planning. Ferguson Cannon Lawyers have a number of experienced practitioners who will be able to provide you with the advice needed to ensure that your assets are protected. For further advice please contact Byron Cannon on 1800 640 509 or byron@fclawyers.com.au.

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Category: Administration of Estate, Conveyancing, Fact Finders, General, Wills & Estates

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