When You Are Gone
An integral part of the financial planning process is advising investors to be aware of the importance of ensuring that the assets that are accumulated during their lifetime are disposed of in accordance with their wishes upon death. Approximately 50% of Australians die without having a current Will.
Many people would not be too concerned about this statistic as one common misconception is that assets will automatically pass to their spouse or family on death.
The following assets (which can be of substantial monetary value) may not necessarily form part of a deceased person’s estate:
- the family home (if owned as tenants in common)
- an individual’s superannuation entitlement
- the proceeds of life insurance policies (depending on ownership)
Clearly, it is critical that you receive expert and appropriate advice on the distribution of your assets following death, or your intentions in relation to your beneficiaries may not be met.
Estate planning is an extremely complex area and you should be seeking expert advice in the preparation of your Will/Wills to ensure that all of the potential complexities that may result following death are catered for.
Wills should be reviewed regularly, say, every three years, or following a major change in personal circumstances such as marriage (a Will is invalid following marriage or remarriage), divorce, the birth of children etc. A Solicitor or Trustee Company may be chosen to prepare a Will and to convert your wishes into a binding legal document. This process will usually involve a meeting with the party or parties to discuss the intentions of the Willmaker and to seek advice on more complex matters of the potential Estate. The Will is then prepared and executed (signed) by the Willmaker.
When preparing to make a Will the following are among some of the issues that you should give careful consideration:
- what person or organisation will be responsible for the administration of the Estate
- that any charitable intentions can be met
- who will ultimately benefit from the assets held by the Estate
- the abilities of any potential beneficiary to manage their finances
- the taxation status of the assets following the Willmakers death
- the potential for family conflict, particularly with blended or second families
- the desire to provide for the spouse during his or her lifetime or to provide for people with special needs
- that ample provision has been made for surviving dependants and spouse
The above information is intended to provide a general guide only. No one should act solely on the basis of this information. The law relating to Wills is complex and varies depending on the State or Territory. You should consult your legal adviser when making their Wills.
See our Estate Planning Checklist
The above information is intended to provide a general guide only and neither represents nor is intended to be specific advice on any particular matter. We strongly suggest that no person should act specifically on the basis of information contained herein but should seek appropriate professional advice based upon their own personal circumstances. Only Financial Services Advice is provided by Peninsula Taxation and Business Centre as an Authorised Representative of BluePrint Advisor Group.