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Time to Review your Estate Plan

A comprehensive financial plan always includes an up-to-date estate plan – and the new year is the perfect time to make sure you check in on both. As we begin 2019, you should, as a minimum, ensure you have two documents in order and up-to-date: your Will and your powers of attorney. These documents contain vital instructions around who should be appointed your estate's executor, who should take guardianship of your children, how assets ought to be distributed and who is authorised to make decisions should you lose the capacity to do so. Heart Principal Financial Adviser, Stu Varidel, advises "The main thing is to ensure your documents are up-to-date, legally valid, and reflect current family and financial circumstances. Things change over time and now is the time to reflect on what that might mean for you and your estate plans." “Everyone should at least a valid current Will. Clients that have children, a superannuation fund, own a house or any other assets ought to have not only a Will but also powers of attorney to handle their affairs in case they no longer can.”

Five questions to consider

Who should benefit (and why)? Determine who you want to leave something to – as well as those you don’t want to leave anything to. Think about who you are responsible for, financially or otherwise. Who to appoint? Decide who you'd like to appoint to specific roles, including executor of the Will and any powers of attorney, and have a conversation with them. Have a back-up plan in case they can’t or won’t do it. Who gets what?

List your assets (and liabilities) – especially those of high emotional or financial worth. A list also helps your executor know what and where everything is.

What’s changed in the past 12 months? Review any changes that have occurred over the past year and consider whether or how they impact on your Will. Are my documents in order? Make sure all your documentation is accessible. This includes bank accounts, mortgage and insurance information, trust deeds, birth, marriage and divorce certificates, superannuation, and details of any investments.

By considering and acting on the above five questions, you can be secure in the knowledge that your estate plan is up-to-date and takes care of what it needs to, especially in the context of their financial plans and objectives. That’s a great start to 2019!


This information is current as at 13/02/19.

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