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How do I protect my children's inheritance?

Sunday 17th of September 2023
By: Suzanne Jones and The Australian newspaper

Full credit goes to you for your intelligent, compassionate and strong approach.  We were amazed with your blend of brains, obvious skill and experience, and heart.

Suzanne Jones chats to The Australian newspaper about estate planning in complex family situations to protect inheritances for adult children. 

Second marriages, blended families, older divorces and more complex investments are all creating huge headaches when it comes to inheritances, prompting fresh warnings for people to plan for their death.

Disputes involving step-parents and stepchildren have grown as blended families increase, and it seems more adult children are becoming estranged from their parents.

Coote Family Lawyers partner and head of estate planning Suzanne Jones said big changes in assets and investment mixes, self-managed super funds and family trusts were making inheritances trickier, too.

Ms Jones said having a detailed estate plan was vital, and it should also cover assets that were held outside of a will – such as superannuation.

“If it’s a significant estate, have a binding financial agreement as well as the wills and other estate planning documents. A family law agreement can be expressed to cover what happens to assets on separation and in the event of the death of a partner.”

It’s not just about protecting inheritances for adult children. Spouses must also be protected from losing everything if their wealthier partner dies. In a legal battle, the courts must consider a partner’s needs.

“There is always an obligation to make adequate provision for a surviving spouse,” Ms Jones said.

She said future problems could be prevented by communicating wishes early, and perhaps leaving a small inheritance first before a larger one later.

“If at all possible, they should make some sort of distribution to children on their death,” Ms Jones said.

You can read the full article here: Inheritance cash can be crunched by blended family battles

If you or someone you know would benefit from some estate planning advice, or if you simply have some questions please do not hesitate to contact our Wills & Estates team on 9804 0035.

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