Plan ahead to ensure your wishes are carried out
While none of us particularly like to think about ‘What happens when I’m gone?‘, improper or no planning for your estate can lead to family disputes, assets getting into the wrong hands and long court litigation. It’s estimated that nearly half of all Australians pass away without even having a Will. Procrastination is the biggest enemy of estate planning.
A common misconception is that everything you ‘personally own’ will be dealt with under your Will. This is all too often not the case. Most likely your Will does cover the distribution of assets held in your name but a proper estate plan goes beyond this to ensure all of your wishes are carried out once you are gone. Estate planning is about making sure the right assets end up with the right people at the appropriate time. It accounts for all of your assets and will ensure your plan is executed smoothly after your passing.
There’s more to estate planning than simply writing a Will
A Will only covers the assets owned in your name. A Will does not cover:
- your superannuation,
- assets owned in a company, or
- assets owned in a trust.
This is exactly why your estate plan needs to consider who will control things once you are gone. Trusts, companies and superannuation funds all have different rules when it comes to distribution of assets. In blended families and particularly when businesses are involved, there are frequently disputes which arise given the varied and competing interests of family members.
Click the video below to hear Matt Schlyder, Founding Director at FWO Chartered Accountants, discuss key considerations in making sure the right people are in control of your assets, so they can deliver on implementing your wishes.
As we heard in the video above, a common misunderstanding is that your Will covers your superannuation, whereas its actually the trustee of the super fund who decides how those benefits are distributed. A Binding Death Nomination directs who your super fund trustee gives your super benefit to. If you haven’t nominated someone, the super fund trustee will decide.
The Estate Plan Guide provided below takes a close look at trusts, companies and superannuation funds in the context of estate planning, and considers Self Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSF), the role of Life Insurance Policies as well as how a Testamentary Trust can place certain protections in your Will.
Don’t leave your estate to chance. Get your affairs in order.
At FWO Chartered Accountants we are across all of your financial affairs and structures. We are in a unique position to work with you and your solicitors to create an estate planning strategy. Having an effective and well-thought-out estate plan can provide some certainty for your family through what is a major life event. Talk to us about your next step.
The key elements to becoming Financially Well Organised
When you have a clear strategy for each of the elements, you will be Financially Well Organised and you too can have peace of mind your financial affairs are in order.