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Only assets owned by you will pass into your estate and be controlled by your Will.
Jointly owned assets
Ownership of jointly owned property will pass automatically to the other joint owner(s) person upon your death, independent of your Will, if owned as joint tenants.
This commonly applies to homes, home contents, bank accounts and personal effects, and other jointly owned assets.
The exception is assets owned jointly as ‘tenants in common’. A person’s interest in such property will be controlled by their Will.
For planning purposes, joint tenancy can be converted to tenancy in common if appropriate at minimal cost.
Assets in your sole name, including real estate, cash, vehicles, shares and units in trusts, will form part of your estate and be controlled by your Will.
Unit trusts and companies
Assets owned by unit trusts or companies controlled by you will not become part of your estate. The shares or units however, will be an asset which forms part of your estate.
Assets owned by discretionary trusts controlled by you will not become part of your estate. They are owned by the trust.
The insured person nominates the beneficiary of their policy, often their spouse or family member.
The proceeds of a life policy are paid direct to the beneficiary and do not form part of the deceased estate.
If appropriate for planning purposes, you must nominate your estate as the beneficiary of your policies if you want the proceeds of the policies to pass to your estate and be managed by the terms of your Will.
If the policy is owned by a superannuation fund, the proceeds will be received by the fund. Again the proceeds will not pass through an estate, but rather they will be managed by the trustee of your superannuation fund in accordance with the terms of the fund deed.
Assets held by a superannuation fund most often pass to a dependant spouse or children, not your estate.