Q: How do we pass on our estates to our children but protect the assets from their partners if they are in relationships that could fizzle out?
A: Any inheritance passing to an adult child may be at risk if there is a subsequent breakdown of the child’s marriage or relationship. The reason for this is that assets passing directly under a will to a beneficiary personally will be owned by that beneficiary outright and so will form part of the “matrimonial assets” at the point of the breakdown and thus at risk of being lost in whole or part.
The way round this situation is not to leave gifts outright but to pass the benefit of the assets to the beneficiary by means of a trust created by the will. This quarantines the assets to some extent and the effect is to offer protection for the inheritance from third-party claims. In certain cases, there may also be tax-saving advantages.
This method of gifting is becoming more and more common and you should speak with a reputable estate planning lawyer for further detailed advice to suit your particular circumstances.
Q: I’d like to know if my husband and I move interstate from New South Wales to Queensland, will our NSW will be legal on either of our deaths or do we need to make a new will in Queensland?
A: Assuming your wills are valid according to law, they will be recognised and accepted in all states of Australia and indeed worldwide. There is no need to make new wills in Queensland.