Wills & Trusts

Do you need to understand the difference between a will and a trust? Could a trust work better than a will in your circumstances? Call us to discuss how best to put your affairs in order before it’s too late.

In a digital age, you may not need a lawyer to prepare a will. You may go to the post office to get a will kit or you may use online templates because you want to keep costs down. If your situation is sufficiently simple, an online will is probably fine for a straight forward estate.

Note however, that married couples may need a separate will for each spouse so remember to consult a lawyer to ascertain what is best for your situation.

Even then, a good will has its limitations. Regardless of what your will says, whether you wrote it last month, two years ago or decades ago, your estate will go to the beneficiaries you designated when you had your will made. It is therefore imperative that you review the beneficiaries regularly. We also recommend updating your will every five years or so.

A will and up-to-date beneficiary information will suffice for most estate plans, but if you have substantial assets or particularly complex circumstances, you may want to consider a trust.

It will allow you to exercise greater control over your assets, minimize taxes and potential lawsuits, speed up the settlement of the estate and avoid probate court.

A trust is a legal entity that owns the property and assets you place in it. You name a trustee (often yourself during your lifetime, so you’ll also need a successor trustee) and then impose terms of your choosing on the trust’s management of those assets.

Regardless of the format of your trust (and there are many), its chief virtues are the privacy it confers and the increased control you get over the transfer of assets, which is more direct than with a conventional will.

Trusts can serve a variety of specific needs and offer various benefits such as avoiding probate, minimizing tax burdens and keeping information regarding your estate from appearing in public records. Where appropriate trusts can be used to help children, vulnerable adults and serve other needs.

Trusts don’t go through probate court and therefore don’t become public and they transfer property almost automatically upon death, helping wrap up the estate and getting assets to family members more quickly.

Contact us to figure out what kind of trust you need and to legally establish that trust.

To schedule an initial consultation for your Wills and Estates Law matter, contact us on (08) 9468 3297, via email, or make an online booking.

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