Asset Protection

Wills

Your will sets out your wishes for how your affairs are to be managed after you are gone. In your will you can specify who you'd like to provide for, who you'd like to leave special gifts or sentimental items to, who you'd like to look after your children (guardians), your wishes for your funeral for example.

If you wish to decide how your property is to be dealt with if you die, then a Will is essential.  When drafting your will, we help you understand your options for providing for family and other interests, writing your will so that everyone can understand and act on your wishes. We encourage you to review your will regularly, preferably every 3-5 years or when your personal circumstances change significantly, and update it accordingly.

We can recommend effective asset planning techniques (which can be incorporated into a Will) and can also assist with putting you in touch with other professionals to arrange specific services, such as a pre-paid funeral.

 

Family Trusts

Family trusts form an integral part of an overall risk management structure, providing a host of useful opportunities to safeguard your assets, ensure the future of loved ones. A family trust holds your assets but allows you to access and utilise them.  It can also be used to provide for the future of your dependents, with investments held for a stipulated time and administered by a trustee of your choice.  A trust will survive your own death and assist you to protect inheritances for future generations.

We are happy to tailor unique solutions that fit the specific circumstances and requirements of each individual client we work with.

 

Power of Attorney

An Enduring Power of Attorney gives someone else the legal authority to act on your behalf to a specified extent. You can appoint someone to act for you to protect your property if you are incapacitated or are unable to act yourself. 

An Enduring Power of Attorney in relation to Personal Care and Welfare authorises your attorney to make decisions about your personal care and welfare in the event that you become mentally incapable.

 

Property Relationship Agreements

The Property (Relationships) Act 1976 which was amended from 1 February 2002 applies to anyone who is married or has lived in a de facto relationship for more than three years.  Couples of whatever gender living in such relationships may find that assets such as houses, cars and furniture will be split 50/50 after the end of the relationship, regardless of who paid for them. 

The only way to avoid such an outcome is to have a prior legal agreement “contracting out” of these provisions of the law.  Such an agreement must be signed by both parties. 

 

Company Structure

By incorporating and forming a limited liability company, you may be able to limit your liability in the event of business failure.  In this way other assets such as the family home can be protected from any creditors.  In addition, incidental tax advantages may also arise.  Before setting up a trading entity it is crucial to talk to us about how to “ring fence” your important assets.

Company directors are often asked to personally guarantee leases etc.   So a limited liability company is not complete protection.  Company directors should consider setting up a family trust separately in order to safeguard family assets.

 

Advance Directive or “living will”

Also known as a “living will”.  If properly drawn up, an Advance Directive, prepared when you are of sound mind, tells doctors what care you wish to receive should be incapacitated by a disease such as brain injury or advanced terminal illness.