Estate Planning Basics – Video

Estate Planning Basics – Video

James Ballantyne recently gave a short presentation to BNI Elite – Helensvale on basic issues in estate planning.

Estate planning should start with estate planning’s “golden rule” – she (or he) that has the gold, should make the rules.

We start by understanding what our clients’ estate planning objectives are – what they want to achieve, and work with them (and in some cases, their accounting or financial advisors) to structure an appropriate plan around those objective.

Of course we need to take into account the issues that commonly arise, depending on the circumstances, which can include family provision applications, taxation consequences and other structuring and superannuation matters.

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Full transcript below:

Today I thought I’d talk about the basics of estate planning what really comprises an estate.  

How I approach estate planning is by applying what we call the golden rule is he who has the gold shall make the rules so people need to understand that when they have a property they’ve built it up they should be able to decide where it goes now there are laws and rules around allowing people to bring challenges and otherwise but I ask people to set that

aside when they make a decision about their estate planning you decide what you want to do and we’ll work around that we’ll work out a plan that gets you the outcome that you’re seeking because in the end it’s your money you’ve worked for it or from your parents and you should decide where it goes if you don’t if you don’t have an estate plan.

There is a one-size-fits-all approach the rules of intestacy so the government decides it doesn’t go to the government in all cases but the government will decide where it goes so the rules of intestacy will apply and your estate will be left in a very specific way and you will have to pay additional fees in terms of the probate or letters of administration process. 

Your estate planning is not all about death it’s also about loss of capacity and serious injury and illness that’s always pretty exciting you need to deal with the decision-making while you’re alive so wills deal with your estate after you’ve died you need to look at things like

enduring powers of attorney and advanced health directives which allow people to

make decisions for you or you to make decisions about what sort of health treatment you receive, what happens with your finances where you were treated and including up to the withdrawal or withholding of life supporting and life-sustaining treatment.

As I said, wills deal with your estate after you die so when you’re looking at your say planning. 

I’ll touch on the main assets of your estate and what you need to consider when you’re thinking about your wills main asset most people own is their house people may or may not be aware that if you own your house with another person there’s a couple of ways you can hold that you can hold it as joint tenants or you can hold it as tenants in common if you own your property as a joint tenant with another person generally your spouse once you die it doesn’t matter what your will says the property goes to the joint survivor of you if you owned this tenancy in common it will form part of your estate and you can deal with it under your will so for in a number of circumstances depending on whether there’s people who may have an interest in your estate that you don’t want to leave things to looking at changing the tenancy of your property is an option for you when you’re purchasing property. 

Please understand what it means because it saves a lot of hassle at the other end other main asset that people have his superannuation a lot of people don’t necessarily appreciate that superannuation doesn’t form part of your estate automatically when you die you don’t own your superannuation it’s held by trustee on trust for you you have the ability to make certain decisions about the superannuation which depend one on the rules of the fund and to whether you’ve made the right type of determination and binding nomination

elapsing behind denomination and on lapsing binding nomination or just a nomination so again superannuation can be a very helpful tool in those circumstances I talked about where you might have people have an interest in your estate that you don’t want to leave things to you can make binding nominations to make sure that what’s in your superannuation fund isn’t challenged through the court process 

Common issues with estate planning blended families obviously these days we have an increasingly high rate of divorce and we have an increasingly high number of families including stepchildren and otherwise that can create some issues with estate planning looking at protecting your new spouse’s interest versus your children’s interest balancing entitlements between short of you have a main asset things like farmers and other one

need to look at whether they leave an asset to one child, how they balance those entitlements and life insurance is a good way of dealing with those sorts of issues and the one I talked about earlier excluding beneficiaries. 

How we approach that I will rush through these but the key issues that you need to consider with your estate plan is control who makes the decisions you know where you want things to go but who’s the person who should implement those things how you fund the decisions speaking to your financial planner about insurance is create a critical part of your estate

planning and making sure you get it done because we don’t know what’s around the corner having estate planning in place will assist greatly.


Gold Coast lawyer James Ballantyne

James Ballantyne


Mina Matsuoka