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Legal Q&A's

Bringing the Pieces Together - My Estate Plan

Posted on 7 February, 2015 at 22:10

An Estate Plan is:

The legal structure and documents to create and order the operation of a scheme to use your assets effectively while alive and a efficient succession to your family, upon your death, and after the death of your spouse. It is designed to ensure the right people own or access the assets for the appropriate periods of time and to protect the family' s rights against creditors and bankrupcy or insolvency and the claims of separated spouses or partners.

The main pieces of an estate plan (but not necessarily all ) are:

 

  • Will.
  • Relationship Property Areement.
  • Life Insurance or asset plan such as forestry.
  • Trust.
  • Enduring Powers of Attorney.
  • Deed of Delegation and attorney for directors and trustees.
  • Interest free family loans.
  • Gifting programme.
  • Company shareholders agreement or partnership agreement.
  • Exit agreements for partnerships, company business.
  • Memorandum of Wishes to Trustees.
  • Investment Plan.
  • A simple plan may involve a will leaving asets to Trust.

 

A good plan can be vital where you have a child with mental or physical disabilty or a family member (ortheir partner) requiring protection from their own alcoholism,drug dependancy,or spendthrift habits.

I have always enjoyed the creative aspects of designing estate plans and the satisfaction of knowing clients receive a strong sense of security.

I have practised in this area since 1979 under the Estate Duty regime and before the Relationship Property code and its heme of sccommunal property sharing. I Have seen the accountancy profession enter into the fray in the last 10 years or so and their wholesale promotion of total gifting to family trusts.

There are probably too many trusts in New Zealand. I believe an era of litigious beneficiaries will arrive when the current children of the settlors who are alive today eventually pass on. All those discretionary trusts and decisions made for tax-relief rather than good family succession are going to be prone to questioning and legal probing.

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