On September 16, 2015

The Importance of Estate Planning

You need to plan your estate to ensure that the people you want inherit your money and assets.

A will plays a major part, so make sure it is up-to-date and reflects your final wishes. Even if you believe you don’t have many assets, having a will can save your beneficiaries a legal wrangle to sort out your affairs.

When planning your estate, you should consider the following:-

  • Ensure your will is up-to-date – having a valid will that is clear and unambiguous will make it easier to ensure that your final wishes are carried out.
  • Put together an information sheet – list all your investments and valuable assets. This can make your will much easier to administer.
  • Choose an executor – an executor is responsible for finalising any debts out of your estate and then distributing the remainder to your beneficiaries (this may include selling assets and distributing the proceeds) so choose an executor carefully. You should also ask them beforehand if they are happy to do it.
  • Funeral arrangements – organising funerals can be traumatic so the more instruction you leave the easier it should be for your family.
  • Keep your will in a safe place – ensure it can be easily found if needed. Your solicitor should also keep a signed updated copy.

Estate Planning should also include setting out your wishes in the event you are unable to make decisions about your assets or your health. This could include:-

  • Superannuation – you should consider giving a binding or non-lapsing death nomination to the trustee of your superannuation fund.
  • Small business or partnership – this should be part of a buy/sell agreement with the other partners. Normally, your share of the business would automatically pass to the remaining partners.
  • Power of attorney – this is a legal document that appoints another person to make legal and/or medical decisions on your behalf.
  • An enduring power of attorney – takes effect only if and when you become incapable of making legal and financial decisions for yourself.
  • Medical power of attorney – can make medical decisions (but not legal or financial decisions) about you if you’re unable or incapable of doing so.
  • Do you need a testamentary trust – this is a trust created in a person’s will, which is activated upon the death of that person. Instead of assets passing directly from one person to another, the assets are passed to the testamentary trust and then administered by the designated trustee – usually a family member, a trustee company, accountant or a solicitor.

Estate planning can be complex and it’s a good idea to seek the professional advice and assistance of both a financial adviser and a solicitor experienced in such matters.

Call us today for an initial confidential consultation.

 

This information is of a general nature only and has been provided without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this, you should consider whether the information is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation and needs.

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