Harris Freidman has particular expertise in complex estate planning, specifically in helping families who have family members with a disability. It is important that people with a family member with an intellectual disability have an estate plan that deals with the family’s special circumstances.
This means more than just having a Will. It means making sure that families are aware of all issues and options, the advantages and disadvantages of each and helping them to put in place an appropriate and achievable plan. Most important is not to cause the loss of important Social Security (Centrelink) benefits for the disabled person.
Harris Freidman has a long history of advising families with disabled dependents and working with organisations and associations that support those families. Our directors are on the Boards of a number of charitable organizations and have personal experience across a range of disabilities. We act as lawyers to many groups involved with disability management – across medical, support and education aspects.
The majority of our clients are individuals who chose us because we give clear and pragmatic advice in ‘plain English’, because we are skilled at advising on difficult situations and assist them to minimize the stress and anxiety that dealing with estate planning issues produces.
We will explain the options available such as:
- Guardianship and Powers of Attorney
- Testamentary Trusts
- Special Disability Trusts
- Centrelink issues, including preserving Centrelink pensions and benefits
- Family discretionary trusts
- Memorandum of wishes
We will also explain:
- The difference between a Will and a proper Estate Plan
- What is a testamentary trust and is it necessary for your family?
- How to deal with the future financial needs of a family member with mental health, addiction or chronic gambling difficulties
- What happens to dependents if you become unable to make decisions?
- Will your expressed preference withstand other unforeseen challenges, such as bankruptcy, family law proceedings or claims for further provision from a will?
- How do I manage the interests and financial needs of all concerned, including current spouses and other dependents, and take account of possible Family Law proceedings or claims for further provision from your Will?
- Problems that might arise if there is poor planning
Written by Jonathan Harris
(02) 9231 2466