No one enjoys talking about what will happen after they die. However, if you want to provide the best possible financial outcomes for those you love after you’re gone, including minimising tax hassles and other complications, it pays to plan ahead.
Talking to your financial planner is a great place to start when you need to create, or make changes to, your Will or estate plan.
Many people assume that Wills and estates are the sole realm of lawyers, or perhaps that estate planning doesn’t apply to their circumstances. The truth is, a well-prepared Will or effective estate plan is usually the result of the combined advice given by your financial adviser, working closely with your solicitor and sometimes your accountant.
Your financial adviser understands your financial big picture – your income, savings and debt; how much tax you pay; and how much you have in your super account. They know YOU, your family and your goals and dreams, which means your financial planner is perfectly positioned to help you consider and understand the financial matters that will form the financial legacy you leave to those you love.
Having a Will in place is important to ensure that your wishes are carried out in terms of distribution of property and the care of any underage children after your death. However, there are important financial matters that are not covered by your Will, such as your superannuation.
An estate plan is designed to identify and execute appropriate ways for holding and distributing your superannuation and other assets, including those held within companies, trusts or business entities.
Identifying these financial facts for your solicitor will allow the appropriate legal structures and documents to be implemented. That way, any assets that could be contested or – in the case of super or life insurance, be distributed at the discretion of the super fund’s Trustee – can be dealt with according to your wishes and direction.
Similarly, speaking to your financial adviser will help you identify matters relating to your tax obligations, so your accountant may advise strategies that will help your estate to avoid unnecessary tax burdens or any other tax complications that may impact your beneficiaries, who may include your children.
We are accustomed to opening up delicate conversations around death and what it can mean in financial terms to surviving family members.
We can also support you in your decision making process that might include nominating beneficiaries, electing powers of attorney and understanding the tax consequences of how your assets will be distributed. Appropriate planning will also be in place to help protect your lifestyle should you be medically or physically unable to make your own decisions later in life.
In the event of your passing, you can also expect your financial adviser to work compassionately with your executor and beneficiaries for disbursement of financial entitlements as outlined in your estate plan.
If you’ve already created a Will, your first step will be to dig it out and check the date on it. If it’s more than two years old, chances are it needs updating. Consider any changes that have occurred in your life; this will include changes in assets as well as relationships, for example a marriage or divorce.
Think about the likely outcome of your estate if you were to pass away unexpectedly. Would those closest to you be able to follow the road map that is your Will and estate plan to sort out your affairs? And would they be able to do it quickly and easily, without confusion or fear of someone contesting your Will in their time of grief?
If you’re in any doubt, it’s time to seek advice.
For help navigating estate planning, please contact Blue Harbour Financial Partners on 07 3821 1161 or email email@example.com
At Blue Harbour, we are known for helping everyday Australians to PLAN and GROW their personal prosperity, PROTECT what’s important, and RETIRE to the lifestyle of their choice.
Blue Harbour Financial Partners and its advisers are Authorised Representatives of Fortnum Advice Pty Ltd ABN 52 634 060 709 AFSL 519190. This article is general advice only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Please consider your own circumstances and whether the advice is right for you before making a decision. Always obtain a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before making any financial decisions in relation to acquiring a product.