No one ever likes to admit that some day they will, well, check out of this life. No matter what phase of life you find yourself in thinking about estate planning can be overwhelming and distasteful. Even thinking about a Will or a lawyer can be scary. In Estate Planning It’s difficult to know where to start, to understand what’s important and what’s not, and sometimes even beginning the discussion with family members can cause hard feelings.
There are, however, things that you can do to simplify and streamline estate planning decisions that are low cost, simple, and which will avoid problems and heartache in the future.
Here are a few simple tips:
- Start Simple. Some people will tell you that an instrument called a ‘revocable trust’ is essential for everyone. Several decades ago that may have been true, but in the last few years the estate tax exemption has dramatically increased and fewer people have estates large enough to require this kind of tax planning. Instead, start with a simple Will. Every person should have one because otherwise the laws of the state in which you live will decide how your property is divided.
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Broadly speaking, a power of attorney is a legal document that authorises another individual to manage the business or other affairs of the person that issued the power of attorney and on his behalf. On the other hand, a will is a legal document that allows to make a decision on what is going to happen to the will maker’s property and assets in case of his death. In order to better understand the differences and significance of a will and power of attorney, it is essential to review the general principles of Australian law that regulate these two types of legally significant documents. First and foremost, Australian law defines a will as a written, not oral, document that incarnates the true wishes of the person regarding the distribution of his property after his death. Under Australian law, an individual who creates a will is usually known as a ‘testator’. The creation of a will makes it possible for the person to select different options of property distribution by designating what is going to happen to his assets in case of his death. Aside from the above, the creation of a will enables the will maker to designate an executor, who will be responsible for bringing the will maker’s wishes into life.
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