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Testamentary trusts

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Under the terms of the simple Will your executor takes charge of the assets of your estate, pays your creditors and forthwith divides the net estate among your beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of your Will. A testamentary trust Will operates quite differently.  Your executor will take charge of the assets of your estate […]

Self-managed super funds and estate planning

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Superannuation funds are trust structures that provides benefit to their members upon retirement.  The main difference between self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) and other super funds is that SMSF members are also the trustees (controllers) of the fund. Many retail superannuation funds, for example industry super funds or those offered by banks, may allow their members […]

What are mirror Wills?

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It is common for those in marriages or de facto relationships of long-standing to make Wills that are in very similar terms.  Each partner executes their own Will document, but the documents appear to “mirror” each other.  The following is an example of a common format for mirror Wills: you appoint your spouse or partner […]

How do you know if a person has capacity to make a Will?

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To make a valid Will you (the Testator) must: be at least 18 years of age; understand and approve the nature and effects of making a Will; understand the extent of the property you are disposing of in your Will; understand the claims to which you should give effect (e.g. the moral claims of family); and be of sound mind, memory and understanding.

Where should I store my Will?

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It is important that you store your Will in a secure place. After your death your Executor will need to file your original Will at the Supreme Court of Western Australia in order to obtain a Grant of Probate. It is possible to obtain a Grant of Probate of a copy of a Will, but […]

Elder abuse and the law

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It’s difficult and uncomfortable to define “Elder abuse”. It’s a broad brush term used to define a range of physical, psychological, sexual and financial abuse or neglect directed towards older people in the community. It’s often an almost invisible form of abuse, occurring as it does in the private confines of trust relationships including family, […]

What is a mutual Will agreement?

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What is often referred to as a “mutual Will” is in fact a legally binding agreement between two parties providing that neither party will revoke his or her Will without the consent of the other. The Wills referred to in the agreement are often (but not necessarily) made at the same time as the agreement.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst

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You may not be able to predict the future, but you can prepare for it. What would happen if you lose capacity to make decisions for yourself or if you become physically unable to manage your affairs? If your answer to either of these questions is, “um… I don’t know!” then consider making an Enduring Power of Attorney.