The main reason you need to plan your estate is to make sure your money and assets are inherited by the people you want to receive them. Another important reason is to make sure they attract as little tax as possible.
Your will plays a large part, so you need to make sure it is up-to-date, and correctly reflects your wishes. Even if you don't have many assets, having a will can save your beneficiaries, family and friends a lot of trouble and heartache. Otherwise it could take months to sort out your affairs.
Things to consider when drawing up your will include
How to put your will together - the safest way is through a reputable solicitor experienced with drafting.
Choose an executor and ask them beforehand if they are happy to do it.
Put together an information sheet listing all your investments and valuable assets. This can make your will much easier to administer.
Include clear instructions for how you wish the assets and/or property to be administrated.
Funeral arrangements - organising funerals can be traumatic so the more instructions you leave the easier it should be for your family.
Decide if you want to leave your body to science or donate your organs.
Keep your will in a safe place but where it can be easily found if needed.
lSome things to consider outside your will
Superannuation - You should consider giving a binding or non-lapsing death nomination to the trustee of your superannuation fund.
Small business or partnership -This may be subject to a buy/sell arrangement with the other partners. In these circumstances your share of the business would automatically pass to the remaining partners (usually in exchange for the proceeds of an insurance policy).
Power of Attorney - This is a legal document that appoints another person to make legal and/or medical decisions on your behalf. It is particularly useful should something happen where you are temporarily unable to sign documents, such as a bad accident.
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 us as your financial adviser (who understands the intricacies of superannuation) and a solicitor experienced in such matters.
Please feel free to call us if you wish to discuss this in more detail. We have a comprehensive estate planning guide that is available. Please email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a complimentary copy.