Is your Estate Planning in place?

Ensuring the right money is in the right place at the right time.

November 2017


Planning what will happen after we die is not something many people look forward to addressing. However, it is important because not only will your loved ones have to deal with the grief of your “departure”, they may be left to manage the conflict and angst that can arise when you don’t leave a Will.
Having a suitable Will in place is essential if you want your estate to be distributed the way you want and to the people that you wish for it to go to. If you didn’t have a Will when you die, your assets will be distributed based on the government prescribed formula, the law is different across all states.

What happens if I didn’t have a suitable Will in place when I die?
In states like Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania, if you die without a Will in place, your spouse is the default full beneficiary unless you have children from a prior relationship in which case your assets will be shared. In other states, the spouse will receive a prescribed sum of amount and the rest will be shared with the deceased’s children regardless of their age.

Under intestacy laws, if you are separated and not yet divorced, your husband or wife could still end up with a significant part of your assets. If you enter a de-facto relationship without having divorced your previous partner, both your spouses could end up sharing a portion of the estate. A Will in place can ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

If your spouse were to re-marry after you die and potentially have more children with their new partner, how would you feel if your own children missed out? A testamentary trust along with a Will can help protect your estate from your spouse’s new partner accessing your inheritance. A testamentary trust is particularly important if you have young children who cannot yet manage their inheritance.

Without a legal Will, if both you and your partner were to die in an accident for example, your children could have access to their inheritance when they turn 18 years old. Some people prefer that their children are older (eg. at least 25 years old) before they can access their inheritance, and can appoint a more responsible person such as an Aunt or Uncle to manage their finances until then.

Some people don’t realise that without specifying details in your Will, your superannuation could be automatically left to your current spouse and any adult children from prior relationships will miss out. This would be the same for a de-facto relationship, not just a married spouse.

If you already have an existing Will, updating it on life changing circumstances or ensuring it cover’s possible future situations is also important. Upon marriage, an existing Will becomes invalid. The right estate planning can ensure that your Will is going to cover future life changing events such as marriage and having children so that you don’t need wait till you’re married before preparing a Will or change your will each time you have a child.

The scenarios are endless and everyone is different with different family circumstance that’s why having a Will prepared accordingly to suit your situation or needs is essential in ensuring that your assets are going to the right people at the right time.

Different types of Wills
Whilst all Wills should be tailored to the individual, most people don’t know that there are two types of Will that you can choose from, a Will with a testamentary trust and one without. Knowing which type will suit your situation is essential to give the most control over your estate. A testamentary trust can be particularly beneficial when you have young children involved, if you need to provide for someone who can’t manage their money, if you are concerned about possible marriage breakup where assets could be vulnerable or if your beneficiary could be at risk of being sued. There are also other benefits depending on individual situation.

Peace of mind
Of course, having a Will in place is critical but it’s also important to ensure you have the right one to suit your situation. Whether you are wanting to have your estate planning set up, would like to update your existing Will or have any questions, talk to our Advisers about your situation. Our Advisers will work with our legal representative to develop a solution to meet your needs. Think about your Estate Planning today to give you peace of mind.

Content supplied by Iron Group Lawyers

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Disclaimer: This article contains general information only. The information contained in this article is not designed to be a substitute for professional advice as such a brief guide cannot consider and cover all individual needs, objectives, circumstances and conditions applying to the law as it relates to these items mentioned in this article. No responsibility can be accepted for errors, omissions or possible misleading statements or for any decisions or actions taken as a result of any material in this communication. Appropriate expert advice should always be considered from a professional financial adviser prior to making any financial decisions. 

 


Past Monthly Focus Topics

What comes first: the property or the loan?  – October 2017

Total and Permanent Disability Insurance (TPD)  –  September 2017

Income Protection  –  August 2017

Super and Concessional Contributions  – July 2017

2017 Tax Planning Strategies  –  July 2017

Federal Budget – May 2017

First Home Owners – April 2017

Pension Limits  – March 2017

Non-Concessional Super Contributions    – February 2017

 

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