Without an Estate Plan, you risk costly and unwanted emotional stress for your family and loved ones… Advivo shares six considerations to make sure all your personal, financial and business affairs are taken care of.

Estate planning, as uncomfortable as the task might seem, can offer peace of mind that your assets and possessions are distributed in the way you desire, and without anyone being able to successfully contest your wishes. Without an estate plan, you risk costly and unwanted emotional stress for your family and loved ones you leave behind.

Here is a simple list of questions to ask yourself when estate planning.

1. Is my will up-to-date?

The obvious question to ask yourself – is my will up to date? It’s important to note anyone over the age of 18 with assets should have a will outlining who will receive their assets including property, possessions, cash in the bank, shares, car, jewellery etc. Small changes to a will can be made with a codicil in the event of a change (marriage, divorce, children etc.).

A common misconception is that if you die without a will your assets will automatically pass on to your partner. This is not necessarily the case and it is dependent on circumstances and follows a prescribed formula.

2. Have I assigned beneficiaries to my superannuation/investment accounts and insurance?

Your superannuation account, investment accounts and insurance policies all let you designate beneficiaries to pass on your funds. If you haven’t done so already, you should set up a Death Nomination or Reversionary Beneficiary for your super account. Your super account isn’t automatically paid to your estate to be distributed according to the instructions you leave in your will, but this document will make sure it ends up with the right person.

3. Have I designated legal guardians for my dependents?

This may be one of the most important considerations as you plan your estate. What will happen to your dependents? Do you have a plan in place for them? Do you have guardians who will care for them and fund their upbringing, education and other expenses?

To choose the best legal guardian to care for your child, you may wish to consider the following:
• Similarities between your lifestyle and values
• Any transition regarding location, your child/children will need to make
• Who can take on the role, financially, emotionally and physically

Once you have chosen a prospective guardian, it’s important to discuss your intentions, outline your expectations and obtain consent.

4. How will taxes affect my estate?

Although there is no inheritance tax in Australia that does not mean your beneficiaries will be able to avoid tax on amounts they receive. However, there are ways you can minimise these this – for example, super fund benefits are tax-free if the inheritor is a Death Benefits Dependent (child under the age of 18, spouse, former spouse or an interdependent relation). Depending on whom you choose to assign as beneficiary, you could minimise additional tax.

5. Have I considered any involvement I have in companies or trusts?

Companies and Trusts continue to exist and the control, management and shareholding/beneficial rights to these should be considered and addressed as part of your estate plan. Getting this wrong could mean your family may lose control of what you consider to be your family business.

6. Have I reviewed my estate planning with experts?

As your Accountants and trusted Advisors, Advivo will take care of your financial affairs, business structures and future aspirations. We’ll also drive your Estate Planning Strategy and coordinate the implementation with your other nominated advisors as required. Our team will take the time to assist you and make sure you’re comfortable with every step of the process.

First, we’ll define your personal, financial and family positions, then clarify with you what your expectations are and how you would like to proceed. Once we have solidified your anticipated outcome, the next step is to facilitate your estate plan so that your wishes can be eventually carried out.

On your behalf, Advivo will engage with legal professionals (either your existing trusted solicitor or an estate planning specialist lawyer that we can arrange) to provide the required legal services.

At Advivo, we have a talented team of accountants and business advisors who will listen to you and take a hands-on approach to manage your business and individual financial needs. Call us on 07 3226 1800 or message us on our Contact page. Located in Brisbane, we’ll take your business to the next level!