A Will generally only deals with the distribution of assets personally owned by you. If your needs are more complex, an Estate Plan extends to asset protection and the ongoing minimisation of income tax for your beneficiaries.
Estate planning is more than just making a plan to distribute certain assets to certain people. A complete estate plan will allow you to retain control of your assets and to determine who will make decisions on your behalf should you become unable to in the future.
Estate planning encompasses:
Appointing an Executor of the Will.
Determining whether a Power of Attorney is required, and who should be appointed in that role.
Establishing a discretionary trust(s).
Consideration of an Estate Plan depends upon:
If you have sizeable assets and the personal circumstances of your beneficiaries require the creation of more complex trusts within your Will.
You have vulnerable beneficiaries with special needs.
Your investment or business structures are complex and may include a family discretionary trust, a self managed superannuation fund or a private company.
You wish to minimise the tax liability of your estate or your beneficiaries, for example via superannuation or testamentary trusts.
Estate planning advice will help you to decide whether you require the preparation of a more complex Will incorporating testamentary discretionary trusts, amendments to your family trust deed or self managed superannuation fund and a formal estate planning strategy document.
The most essential activity is to talk to a legal professional/lawyer and/or your solicitor, who can help out with all parts of estate planning.