Estate Planning is the process of getting your affairs in order by preparing the important documents that will help to make sure that your wishes are followed when you are gone. This makes the process less stressful for your family and friends.
At Aussie Wills and Estates, we care about providing comprehensive Estate Planning tailored to your individual needs and circumstances.
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Below are some key points to remember...
An Estate Plan is the key document that maps out how you want your Estate organised and distributed
You must have an effective tax plan
You need to nominate a Beneficiary in regard to your Super and your Life Insurance
It's also important to appoint somebody to take care of your medical affairs if you can't
ESTATE PLANNING CASE STUDIES
Connie filled out a do-it-yourself Will online so she could save a few dollars,
When she passed her kids got a lawyer to finalise her Estate and they were hit with a huge tax bill that almost wiped out their share of the Estate. What Connie needed to do was to get a lawyer to write a proper Estate Plan to suit her individual needs. Had Connie taken advantage of proper estate planning, her kids would have paid hardly any tax at all.
Bill was mowing the lawn and he fell down and died suddenly of a heart attack,
Soon after his wife Maria passed away as well. They only had one child and he was a drug addict. Due to their lack of Planning their son received the whole of his parents Estate, spent it on drugs and sadly died of an overdose soon after. A proper Estate Plan could have protected their son and the estate by only allowing their son to take a small amount of money at a time until his life was more stable.
Georgia and Sally wanted to have a child so
They got there best friend Sean to donate what he needed to so that they could have a child, it all went well and the girls had a beautiful little girl, but the three of them wanted to know that little Sofie was well looked after in case anything happened to them, so the three of them wrote special Wills that protected little Fia encase anything ever happened to any of her parents.
Things to keep in mind regarding your Estate…
Why is it important to have an up to date Will ?
An up-to-date will can give you the assurance that your loved ones will be provided for as you intend.
Your solicitor can help you choose an executor and draft a legal will that sets out:
Who will receive your assets after you die – e.g. property, possessions, bank account balances, shares and managed funds
Who will look after your children
Your wishes regarding your funeral and burial
While it’s possible for a legal will to be contested, setting out your wishes clearly and with the help of a legal professional can make contesting difficult.
Keep in mind that a will won’t cover assets that you own with someone else as a joint tenant. The surviving tenant will automatically get ownership of your share.
You can amend your will if your circumstances change, such as when you marry, divorce or welcome the arrival of children or grandchildren. Small changes can be made using a legal document called a codicil. If you want to make substantial changes, it’s a good idea to create a new will.
A Binding Death Benefit nomination or Non-lapsing Death Benefit nomination is a written nomination made to your super fund to make sure that your death benefit – which includes the total super balance and any life insurance held in the fund – is paid out according to your wishes.
Without this type of nomination, your super fund may be able to use its discretion to choose which of your eligible beneficiaries receive your death benefit, or a default procedure may apply (e.g. it may automatically be paid to your estate).
In most cases a Binding Death Benefit nomination only remains valid for three years, so it’s important to regularly renew it. A Non-lapsing Death Benefit nomination will – depending on your fund’s rules – generally remain in place unless you cancel it or replace it with a new nomination.
It is important to periodically review any Binding or Non-lapsing Death Benefit nominations you have to ensure they remain valid and in line with your wishes.
Life insurance outside super
If you are the policy owner and don’t nominate a beneficiary, and the benefit is $50,000 or more, it will be paid to your estate. In this case there is a legal requirement to provide Probate or Letters of Administration (LOA) before the benefit can be paid. These are legal documents proving that the executor is authorised to manage your affairs. If the benefit is less than $50,000 it may be paid directly to certain individuals1 including a spouse or child where the policy owner does not nominate a beneficiary.
Manage tax consequences
Your beneficiaries may end up with a hefty tax bill if you don’t plan how they will receive your assets. This is because the way you distribute your assets could have tax implications, including Capital Gains Tax (CGT).
Fortunately, there are ways you may be able to manage tax impacts. For instance:
Insurance policy proceeds from a super fund are tax-free if they’re paid to dependants
A CGT liability can be deferred if a beneficiary of your estate is given an asset rather than the proceeds from the sale of that asset
Incorporating testamentary trusts into your will can help manage tax.
Power of Attorney (PoA)
There are a few different types of PoAs, including specific, limited and general, that allow a person you nominate to carry out particular tasks on your behalf. However, an Enduring PoA will let that person legally act on your behalf up until you pass away, even if you become incapable of managing your own affairs.
You can also choose to appoint an Enduring Power of Guardianship that allows a person to make decisions about your health care, lifestyle and where you live.
It’s important to choose someone you trust and seek independent legal advice to make sure you understand the risks involved in giving someone else control over your affairs.
A financial planner can work with you and your legal adviser to get an estate plan in place for you and your family.