No matter what your life stage, estate planning gives you greater control of the assets you have built up, while also providing for the wellbeing of the people who matter to you.
A formal will
At the heart of your estate plans is a formally drafted will. It’s a key document that sets out who you would like to inherit your assets (your estate), and it’s important for this to be professionally written.
Our estate laws are complex and a watertight will prevents disgruntled beneficiaries from contesting your preferences. In fact, if you have a blended family, it is critical to have a formal will in place to be sure your exact preferences are followed.
With so much at stake, skip the do-it-yourself will kits, and seek professional advice for your will. This is an area where we can help – and also advise on your choice of executor, who will manage your estate and distribute the assets in line with your wishes.
Bear in mind, your will should be updated following a major life change such as the birth of children, separation and divorce or the sale/acquisition of new assets.
A binding nomination for your super
As your superannuation can’t normally be bequeathed in your will, be sure you have a binding nomination in place that states who you would like to receive your super if you pass away. Super savings inherited by family members can be subject to high rates of tax, so speak to us for tailored advice before settling on your binding nomination.
Trusts – useful for asset protection
A family trust can be a useful way to protect your assets while you’re alive, and to ensure the financial wellbeing of dependents including family members with special needs, well into the future.
There can also be tax advantages to using a trust, though this is a complex area and using a trust comes with a new set of expenses so you need to balance the costs with the advantages. We can help you decide whether a trust is a suitable option for your circumstances.
Appointing Power of Attorney
As we age, it can make sense to appoint someone to take care of our money. Clearly, this person – your “attorney”, needs to be someone you can trust. The main point is that it makes sense to have power of attorney in place long before you can no longer make financial decisions yourself.
We can advise on how power of attorney can be useful in your circumstances, and guide you through the process of selecting and appointing an attorney.
While none of us like to consider our own mortality, putting estate plans in place now gives you peace of mind that your loved ones will benefit from the wealth you have worked so hard to build up.
After all, who really knows what tomorrow will bring?