Many people think that estate planning is simply making a Will, but there is much more to it than that. In fact, if you are considering estate planning – and everyone should – it is wise to get advice from lawyers & solicitors who are knowledgeable about the topic and can help you in many ways.
Effective estate planning accomplishes a great deal: –
- It will ensure that your assets are delivered to the people you choose to have them. By ensuring that you’re Will is made early on and updated to reflect any change in your lifestyle, the people you choose to inherit your assets will be sure to get them.
- It will maximise the value of your assets after tax. When you have legal advice, you can minimise tax legally and this means your heirs will not lose money they should have.
- It can ensure your dependents are financially secure for the rest of their lives. This can be done by protecting your assets from being sold off when this would not be in the financial interests of those who inherit them and in many other ways, such as setting up a trust.
- Proper estate planning makes it much easier for your family to handle your affairs. You can leave specific instructions with your lawyers to administer your estate after you have gone, or if you are medically unable to do so. This will give you and your family peace of mind and the knowledge that they won’t have to take over the reins financially.
Estate planning is as much about ensuring your family can cope after you are gone as about who will get what. You and your professional legal counsel can set things up so that the family does not have to worry about a thing, with your estate will being administered by those you trust and who are financially capable.
- Your Will, which will include assets and liabilities such as cash and investments. It also includes debts and loans. But there are some assets that can’t be governed by a Will.
- Testamentary trusts where assets are held on behalf of your chosen heirs and income from them distributed as you see fit.
- Power of Attorney appointments to enable non-medical decisions to be made on your behalf if you cannot make them due to mental or physical incapacity.
- Enduring Power of Guardianship that will enable lifestyle and/or medical decisions to be made if you cannot make them due to being mentally incapacitated.
Non estate assets
You may have assets that are not classed as part of the estate. These would be assets you own with another party, such as superannuation, joint tenancies, family trusts and insurance policies. These too, must be part of the estate planning and included in any overall financial plan.