You would have heard the saying: “where there’s a will, there’s a way”. This statement is usually used to encourage people who are losing enthusiasm for a task or goal. But it also reflects the way many people feel about estate planning. They think that so long as you have a Will, you have a way to ensure your wealth is passed correctly to your loved ones. But this is not necessarily the case.
The truth about Wills
A Will can help ensure the assets that form part of your estate get distributed according to your wishes.
But did you know that a Will typically only applies to personally held assets and therefore may not deal with a significant portion of your wealth? For example, the proceeds from your superannuation funds and life insurance policies don’t necessarily form part of your Estate. They can pass directly to certain beneficiaries nominated by you or go to your Estate where they’ll be dealt with by your Will.
Also, some assets never form part of an estate, like jointly owned assets, assets held in a discretionary family trust, superannuation benefits or life insurance proceeds.
To cover all bases, thorough estate planning (or personal succession planning as it’s also known) involves putting in place strategies that address all your assets, not just those covered by your Will.
Do I need a personal succession plan?
Another common misconception is that personal succession is only for the wealthy or the elderly. However, just about every asset you own and every investment you make has estate planning implications. As a result, personal succession planning is something everyone needs to consider, regardless of age or stage in life.
At a minimum, every individual should have:
What are the benefits of personal succession planning?
Personal succession planning can:
What are the consequences of NOT having a personal succession plan?
Personal succession is something you should address now. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
If you die without a valid Will, intestacy legislation will determine how your estate assets are distributed among your surviving family members.
If you die without a valid superannuation or life insurance death benefit nomination, the proceeds may not be distributed according to your wishes.
And if you’re badly injured in an accident or lose mental capacity, who will manage your affairs while you’re still alive but unable to make your own decisions?
Who should I contact to discuss my personal circumstances?
You should consider holding an initial discussion with a qualified financial adviser. With assistance from your financial adviser and, where appropriate, legal and tax professionals, you can:
If you would like to get your estate planning affairs in order or to discuss options available to you and/or your loved ones, please contact Calibre Private Wealth Advisers at your earliest opportunity.
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