What age I should start thinking about estate planning?

Published 01 Feb 2019

Thinking about where your assets will go after you die is never a pleasant activity, no matter your age. But when you're young and healthy, it can seem like a task for the future; something you can afford to put off until a much later date. The truth is that it's never too early to begin estate planning.

The benefits of early estate planning

An uncomfortable truth of life is that we can never know when it's going to end. Getting your estate planning underway early gives you peace of mind that your assets are going where you want them to after you pass. Even if you don't currently own many assets, having your affairs in order can make things less stressful for your family and/or partner in the event of your early passing.

What happens if I die without a will?

Passing without a will is known as dying intestate. If you've decided to put off planning your estate, you risk having your assets divided according to the law, not your wishes. Dying intestate does not automatically mean your estate goes to the state, however. The Succession Act 2006 sets out who among your relatives will receive assets with a tiered system for deciding this. For instance, if you have no children, your spouse will be entitled to the entire estate. Beyond a spouse, the order for who's entitled generally goes:

  • Children.
  • Parents.
  • Brothers and sisters.
  • Grandparents.
  • Aunts and Uncles.
  • Cousins.

If this list is exhausted and it turns out you don't have any eligible relatives, your estate then goes to the state.

How to take the first steps in estate planning

1. Start thinking about who you want to give to

Ultimately, estate planning is about deciding how your assets will be allocated once you pass, so the first step is to think about where you want them to go. You can pass pieces of your estate on to a partner, friends, family, children, or even charitable organisations - basically, to whomever you please.

2. Speak to your lawyer

There are certain steps you need to take to ensure your will is legally binding. Consulting with your lawyer early in the process can make sure you're ticking all the right boxes.

Ready to start planning your estate? For the best legal advice in doing so, contact the team at Malouf Solicitors today.

Please call us on 02 8833 2000 to speak with a lawyer

I remain extremely grateful for Maloufs legal representation related to my financial management of the estate of my brother and for your continuing help and advice in this matter. As an aside, I always recommend Maloufs to my friends and family members who are seeking the best legal representation - only last week, I strongly advised a close family friend that their best interests would be served by arranging an appointment at your Parramatta offices.
John of Parramatta NSW

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Parramatta NSW 2124

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