Estate planning, introduction

Estate planning, introduction

A crucial reason to consult a lawyer is to plan and administer your estate. Good estate planning can preserve wealth, safeguard loved ones, and avoid expensive litigation.

Do not close the barn door after the horse has bolted!

Now is an excellent time to consider your personal and business affairs – while you are physically and mentally fit. Too many wait for signs of illness, or they postpone the effort because talking about death makes them uncomfortable. But if COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that fate is fickle.

Considering the change in the law and any changes in life

NOW is the time to get your estate in order. So you can sleep peacefully, knowing you provided carefully for illness, infirmity, your family and other loved ones. If you have visited these matters before, ask yourself whether your arrangements are current. Or comprehensive. Are the arrangements enforceable? Has your life changed? Do the arrangements best reflect your present state of health, financial position, places of residence, sentiments about others, and tax and regulatory environment? Bull’s eye: the law of succession is being revised.

Eliminating uncertainties

Do you want your estate planning to ensure that your legacy is preserved, and your final wishes are respected? Whom do you bequeath your art objects to?

When dividing, all heirs have an equal right to the estate property according to Art. 610 para. 1 of the Swiss Civil Code. In the event of disagreement, an art object is to be allocated to a lot and distributed among the heirs by drawing lots (cf. Art. 611 CC) or a very valuable art object is to be sold and the proceeds split among the heirs (cf. Art. 612 para. 2 CC). – Become active and determine who will get which art object.

A testator is entitled by testamentary disposition to give his heirs instructions regarding the division.

For one, I can help eliminate uncertainty in how your assets will be distributed. Who may inherit your art collection, your valuable painting, your bitcoins, your property, your vacation home, your jewelry? Who may live in your property? Is a usufruct or a right of residence preferable? Who may continue to run your business?

I can help ensure that your surviving spouse or domestic partner and dependents are protected. We can sort through complexities, such as second or blended families, whether you should consider drafting a Last Will, or enter a Contract of Succession, possibly combined with a Matrimonial Contract. I can help you evaluate the options and ensure that your decisions are unambiguous and uncontestable.

Who will take care of your pets when you will no longer be? How can you ensure that they will be fine?

Preparing for the unexpected

If you are a business owner, I can assess how well you have prepared for the unexpected. I can help you draft a business succession plan, so your business continues to thrive for the benefit of your spouse, children and other named successors long after you have departed. I can help you with the necessary powers of attorney.

Have you made all necessary arrangements, whether as an individual or business owner?

Who will handle your business and financial affairs if you become incapacitated – either physically or mentally; temporarily or permanently? Have you ensured they have undisputed legal authority? And access to your accounts, files and devices? What about personal medical care and decision-making? Have you drawn up an advance directive and living will?

Who will care of your dependents and how? Or your pets?

Your last wishes

What about your remains? Did you make funeral arrangements? Who should be notified of your passing?

These are questions everyone should address while they are healthy and of sound mind, rather than leaving their fate to chance.

No matter where you are in the estate planning process, I can help.