A Will can help ensure the assets that form part of your estate get distributed according to your wishes. It’s part of sound estate planning.
However, a Will typically only applies to personally held assets and therefore may not deal with a significant portion of your wealth. For example, the proceeds from your superannuation funds and life insurance policies don’t necessarily form part of your Estate. They can pass directly to certain beneficiaries nominated by you, or you can nominate your estate to receive any proceeds where they will be dealt with in accordance with your Will. Some assets never form part of an estate, like jointly owned assets or assets held in a discretionary family trust.
To cover all bases, you need to put in place a comprehensive estate plan that address all your assets, not just those covered by your Will. As a result, estate planning is something everyone needs to consider, regardless of age or stage in life.
What are the benefits of estate planning?
Estate planning can:
- provide certainty by distributing assets to the right people, at the right time with the least amount of disruption and anxiety.
- enable you to provide for and protect your loved ones while minimising tax payable by your nominated beneficiaries, and
- provide certainty that your family members will be taken care of.
The consequences of NOT having an Estate Plan
Estate planning is something you should not leave until later in life. It should be addressed now. Don’t wait until it’s too late. If you die without a valid Will, intestacy legislation will determine how your estate assets are distributed among your surviving family members.
If you die without a valid superannuation or life insurance death benefit nomination, the proceeds may not be distributed in accordance with your wishes.
And, if you’re badly injured in an accident or lose mental capacity, who will manage your affairs while you’re still alive, but unable to make your own decisions?
How we can help
We can help you address estate planning issues as part of your broader financial planning engagement. With assistance from financial planning professionals, we can give guidance on what you need to do to get your estate planning strategy in place by identifying any gaps that need to be addressed. We can develop a range of strategies to provide certainty, tax efficiency and/or asset protection. By making appropriate decisions now, your beneficiaries will be able to effectively and efficiently receive the death benefit they are entitled to when you’re no longer around.