Estate Planning

Many people simply don’t understand exactly what Estate Planning is and how it applies to them, but more importantly how it protects them. Engaging a Financial Adviser and solicitor with estate planning experience is crucial to identify the issues and provide guidance as to how to structure your own and your family’s affairs.

Whilst creating and implementing a will is an important part of Estate Planning there are many other aspects that need to be considered such as:

  • Testamentary Trusts
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Guardianships
  • Executors
  • Taxation

What is My Estate?

Your estate is made up of everything that you own. This includes your home, property, furniture, car, personal possessions, business, investments, superannuation and bank accounts.

Unfortunately, your debts don’t disappear when you pass so liabilities also make up part of your estate.

What if I Don’t Have a Plan?

If you don’t have a Will when you die, or your will is not valid, when you die then you would be considered as dying intestate.

In this situation, state laws determine how your estate will be administered. This could result in your assets being distributed against your wishes. Alongside this, the improper distribution of your assets could incur avoidable tax liabilities and other expenses for your beneficiaries.

A will generally does not cover every aspect of your assets either, such as superannuation, trust assets and jointly held assets.

Given the risks of not having a proper estate plan in place, it is important to make sure that your plan is in order.

This ensures that all of your assets will be distributed efficiently, tax-effectively and according to your wishes.

How can Estate Planning Help Me?

  • A well-constructed Estate Plan can protect your assets and save your family and friends a great deal of angst when the inevitable happens.
  • It minimizes tax and protects your assets.
  • Your estate plan will vary depending on your family circumstances.
  • If you have a young family the primary concern is to choose a legal guardian.
  • If you have a grown up family you may want to consider how to financially look after your children and grandchildren.
  • You may ensure that you have provisioned for in laws who can become outlaws.
  • You estate plan have provisions to manage money for beneficiaries who are not financially responsible.
  • You can update your will and nominate an executor.
  • Non estate Assets such as jointly held assets, family trusts, super funds and private companies may not be able to be dealt with under your will.
  • You may need to take additional steps to ensure these assets get to your chosen beneficiary.
  • Estate Planning is not just about having a Will. It involves the review, management and control of your personal, family and business affairs according to your wishes while you are alive.

You may need to set up a specific structure or trust to look after beneficiaries with special needs and sizable bequests to charities.

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