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Estate planning, wills and probate

Some commonly asked questions about estate planning

  • Your lifestyle
  • Your retirement plans
  • Your business goals (eg who will succeed you?)
  • Your taxation position
  • Your plans for passing on your assets when you die
  • Strategies for dealing with unforeseen circumstances such as illness or relationship breakdowns within your family

If you have not planned ahead and put your affairs in order, then you may find that what happens to your estate is not at all what you would have desired. The Succession Act prescribes the process for distributing a person’s estate in the absence of a will.

Should you become unable to make personal decisions for yourself, in the absence of an enduring guardian with whom you have discussed your wishes, your living situation and medical treatment may not be what you would have wanted.

Put simply, a failure to plan ahead means you may relinquish your decision making power.

If there is no will, then an administrator must be appointed by the Supreme Court of NSW to deal with the estate. They will distribute the estate in accordance with the rules contained in the Succession Act. These rules changed substantially in 2010 and can be very complex. For more information about distribution of estates in the absence of a will, please see our legal wills page.

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