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Estate Planning is the process of preparing your Will, Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship documents, with the assistance of additional services such as accountants. It can also include Advance Care Directives. Penrith Estate Planning Lawyers Amanda Little & Associates Estates will assist you to create an effective estate plan with a view to your intentions.
Estate Planning isn’t something people like to think about, but it is important to have your estate in order. Estate plans ensure that your family is left with a clear directive on how to distribute your estate after you’ve passed. By thinking ahead now, you can prevent confusion and extra heartache for your loved ones in the future.
It’s often assumed that estate planning is something we need to consider as we get older – post retirement age. This isn’t true. Having an estate plan in place when you are younger is a smart idea and once you have a plan in place, you can make adjustments over time – adding children if/when you have them, taking more assets and wealth into consideration as you accumulate both, etc…
An effective estate plan includes tax effective wills and planning of asset holdings to protect your beneficiaries in the event of the death. The Estate planning process includes:
- Taking stock of your current assets (what assets do you have? What liabilities do you have?);
- A meeting with Amanda Little & Associates Estate and your financial planner or accountant to discuss taxation consequences of your gifts;
- Discussion and assessment on the holding of your assets ( jointly held assets, asset holdings e.g. joint tenants or tenants in common, superannuation nominations, assets not forming part of your estate)
- Actions required to asset holdings for taxation and or other purposes (such as quarantining assets for estates, transfer of interests, binding death nominations);
- Preparation of legal documents such as wills and power of attorneys to affect your estate plan (is a standard will sufficient, do you require a testamentary trust or a special disability trust? Is a life estate required?)
Everyone needs an estate plan!
For example: Did you know that your superannuation does not form part of your Estate unless it is expressly stated by way of nomination? Did you know that there can be serious taxation consequences as to whom your superannuation is left to? Did you know unless you have done a binding nomination the trustee of your superannuation fund holds discretion ( despite your nominations) to disburse your interest as they see fit?
This is only a few of the legal issues Amanda Little & Associates Estates will discuss with you at your conference.
The complexity of your estate plan will depend upon the following factors:
- Size of the expected estate;
- If there are minor beneficiaries;
- If there are beneficiaries with disability;
- If there are mixed/blended families;
- If there has been dis-entitling conduct (someone has acted in a way to ‘dis-entitle’ them from a share of an estate they would otherwise be entitled to);
- If you have a mix of dependent and non-dependent beneficiaries.
Here are some basic steps to estate planning:
- Ask yourself what assets do I have?
- What liabilities do I have?
- Do I have jointly held assets?
- Are you joint tenants or tenants in common?
- Who is my superannuation with, is there a life insurance component with my superannuation?
- Should I create a list of all of my assets and liabilities to help my executor of power of attorney?
- How do I protect my family?
- Do I have enough insurance to pay out my mortgage, pay the kids school fees and support my partner so they can be primary carer?
- Who do I want to look after my children if I can no longer do this?
- Is this my second marriage and I wish to protect my new spouse or my children from a previous relationship?
- Do I have complex business structures and asset holdings – how do I want these to be gifted?
- Do I wish to leave a gifts or gifts to charities?
- Am I leaving out a potential beneficiary?
- Does one of my beneficiaries have a disability or are they a spend thrift or likely to go through a divorce in the future
- Do I need to protect my estate from being contested?
Choose the right people! When considering who to appoint as your power of attorney and enduring guardian – consider who you trust to make the right financial decisions on your behalf and who will make the best decisions regarding your health care and welfare.
Finally make an appointment to discuss the above with us and we will help you put together an estate plan to ensure that you achieve your family is protected into the future – as estate planning is about family.
At the initial consultation we will discuss your needs with you and put together a plan for the progression of your estate planning process. As each client and estate is unique this will be tailored to you.
Prior to attending your conference with us, we will send you an information form for your completion and to assist you to gather the relevant information required.
Please contact Amanda Little & Associates Estates to book an appointment with one of our Estate Planning Solicitors to discuss your matter on 0247 616 935.