It’s easy to put off answering uncomfortable questions, like What will happen if my income stops? And others I have posed this week. Today is the last in the foundations series. I want to tackle the most difficult question – “What happens to my assets and my loved ones when I die?”
I often talk about Estate Planning – but, what is it, who needs it, and why is it beneficial?
Put simply, it’s a plan you create that goes beyond a Will. Typically, a Will sets out your wishes for distributing your property upon death and may also include instructions for care of minor children.
Consider this, do you know:
- that if you don’t have a valid will when you die the intestacy laws of the State determine how your property is divided up and passed on?
- if you are unable to manage your own lifestyle, medical, legal and financial matters during your lifetime?
- that superannuation is a non-estate asset, meaning that it requires separate instructions for the Fund Trustees.
- what happens if you have your own business, self-managed super fund or Directorships? Can the business continue? How are successors appointed?
You may need a more comprehensive Estate Plan if you felt uncomfortable about any of the above.
Here’s 10 key questions to consider:
- What life stage are you in?
- Have you built assets you wish to protect – is control important if you cannot make decisions for yourself?
- Are you bulletproof – do you have dangerous pursuits or health concerns, are you at risk each time you leave the home? Same for your older children.
- Are minor children involved or blended family?
- What happens to debt if I die?
- Do you have superannuation?
- Do you have a succession plan for your business/Directorships?
- Who do you wish to leave a legacy to?
- Would you like to give money to charities?
- Are there any other special circumstances?
Why is it beneficial?
- You’ll have a set of legal documents that protect you, your family and businesses.
- Gives peace of mind your affairs can be managed effectively, by people you consider competent to do so.
- May assist you in structuring your affairs so that you maximise returns to your beneficiaries and reduce tax.
Your income underpins your finances, the foundations sit above – emergency funds, protection plan and estate plan. Focus on building strong foundations. With diligence and greater control you’ll make better use of your money, savings and investments, creating greater financial security for you and your family. Close the gap. Talk to your Financial Planner and Lawyer.
Reach out if you’d like more information about any of the topics this week, or if you have any questions whatsoever.