How do you want your assets dealt with?
Estate planning – or planning how your assets will be distributed after you pass away – is a crucial element of any wealth management strategy. After all, it’s part of your legacy and helps loved ones to remember you.
There is more to estate planning than just writing your Will and testament. Take the important step today to inform yourself about estate planning.
Part of estate planning isn’t planning for after your death, but after your retirement. Retirement planning options include superannuation funds and pension funds, as well as insurance policies such as health and life insurance.
Estate planning involves reviewing these retirement plans, to make sure that all contributions and insurance premiums are being paid according to your wishes, and all your details are up-to-date.
Often, physical assets aren’t only worth a lot in dollar terms, but also represent a deep sentimental value. The home is a classic example of a physical asset with both financial and emotional value.
For estate planning, we suggest creating a complete list of all physical assets that you own. As well as houses and property, this could include computers and other electronics, vehicles, jewellery, artworks, and other valuable household items and collectables.
Preparting a list of assets will assit you in determining what you have before you commmence the Will writing process. At this same time it will be of great assitance to the Executor of your Esate, as the Executor will readily know what assets you hold.
Non-physical assets count as part of an inheritance, too. These can include personal and business bank accounts, as well as shares held in public and private companies and other investment assets. You will also need to nominate the recipients of your retirement plan, such as superannuation funds and life insurance plans.
Keeping track of account information, including details on how to access the accounts, is an important part of creating an estate plan.
Loans and Liabilities
Loans and other liabilities need to be listed accurately, so that they can be properly dealt with. The most common forms of liabilities are home loans, business loans, vehicle loans, and any balances due on credit cards. An estate plan should include details on the best way to pay off these liabilities from your estate after your death.
Write Your Will
Writing a Will is the process of documenting how the assets and liabilities in your name will be dealt with after your death. The Will may detail how any liabilities are to be paid off and sets out who will be the beneficiaries who receive the remaining assets.
The Will can also nominate one or more guardians for the dependent children and pets you leave behind, as well as detail your final wishes, such as any special gifts to bequeath and how to carry out your funeral proceedings.
Writing a Will used to be a cumbersome and expensive legal process. However, in the modern era, you can simply write your Will online. Online Wills are convenient, affordable and only take a few minutes to complete.
Set Up a Trust
You may wish to set up a Testamentary Trust fund to manage how your assets are distributed among your beneficiaries, at the discretion of the Trustee.
A Testamentary Trust will only become activated after your death. The Trust safeguards some or all of the assets stipulated in your Will, and can protect these assets from being seized by creditors to pay back debts.
The Trust can also control how the assets are distributed, which can be done in a way to reduce the taxes that beneficiaries must pay on the income earned on their inheritance.
Nominate an Executor
There is more to completing a Will than writing it. An executor of the Will has to be nominated as part of your estate planning. This person has the responsibility to make sure that all the wishes in your Will are carried out, the way you intended when you wrote it.
Ideally, the Executor of the Will should be someone trust highly to carry out your final wishes and manage complex legal and financial matters after your death.
Advance Care Directive
An estate plan can include an Advance Care Directive, which is a legal document for your medical wishes.
This can include an Instructional Directive, which specifies which medical treatments you consent to or refuse, and a Values Directive, which records your preferences around medical treatments.
An Advance Care Directive sets out your preferences to guide future medical decisions made on your behalf.
Power of Attorney
Estate plans can also include a Power of Attorney that nominates someone to act on your behalf for your affairs. The Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives legal authority to your nominee to manage your affairs.
Plan for Your Future Today
When planning for your future, estate planning is the foundation for true peace of mind. Make sure you’re taking care of your loved ones after you’ve passed on, and take charge of your estate planning today.
Create a Will online today with Your Wills.