Reducing the chances of your assets falling into the wrong hands at death Asset protection in the sense of preventing your assets falling into the wrong hands after your death. Wills are the first thing to draw up. But keep in mind the person you leave things to will also die at some point. So leaving everything to the spouse may not be good if they get remarried after you die. A testamentary discretionary trust or two in the will can help you rule from the grave to a certain extent. it can also help the children preserve the assets inherited if they become bankrupt, divorced or themselves die. But wills can be challenged and they can be invalid so perhaps your will won’t work. In this case the intestacy laws will apply. Perhaps these laws should be considered just in case. Owning assets as Joint Tenants will prevent those assets being part of your will - if you die before the other joint owner. But they could die first and then the asset would pass via your will. So make sure you take them into account. Joint Tenancy can also be challenged in some limited circumstances, especially where the tenants are not spouses. The obvious way to prevent assets passing to the wrong person is to give them away before you die. But this generally has stamp duty and CGT issues and is not always attractive. Using different structures to control assets can also prevent them forming part of your estate and there have less chance of the assets falling into the wrong hands. Trusts are an example. If the trustee or the controller dies the assets of the trust continue on under someone else’s control. Just make sure the control falls into the right hands. If you operate companies then consider the shares as although you cannot pass on company assets you will have to pass on any shares you own in the company and the shareholders will then control the company and its assets. Don’t forget your superannuation. It could be larger than you think with life insurance. So make sure you have a binding death benefit nomination in place and that this is valid. Spending the inheritance on yourself is a good idea sometimes too. You want your last cheque to bounce ideally. And lastly, avoid all connection to NSW if you can. NSW has what is known as notional estate orders. These are orders that the court can make against assets you do not own. e.g. trusts can be attacked if you are the appointor or trustee. Joint tenant property can be attacked, super can be attacked and even property disposed of within 3 years of your death can be attacked, especially gifts. Another angle is to openly discuss your plans with your relatives. Sometimes the shock of seeing where the assets are going to cause anger and resentment which can lead to attack. But if the family knows your plans and you can talk about it beforehand then when the time comes it will be less of a shock and this may lead to a smoother transition without court cases. if you do specifically want to exclude someone then set out your reasons and evidence in the form of an affidavit so this can be used as evidence after your death - you won’t be around to give evidence yourself.