Estate planning: do you need help?

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Estate planning: do you need help?

So, what is estate planning?

Estate planning is not just about making a will. It’s about deciding how you want to be looked after (both medically and financially) if you can’t make your own decisions later in life. It’s also about documenting how you want your assets to be distributed after you die.

Estate plans can be a complex area. So you may want to consider seeking professional advice to help guide you through the maze of legal, tax and financial matters arising from estate planning.

Here are some of the things you need to think about:

1.    Make a will – a solicitor can help you draw up a legally binding document that advises who should receive your assets when you die1. If you don’t have a valid will, your estate will be distributed according to the law in your relevant state.

2.    Appoint an executor – this is the person who is responsible for making sure your assets are distributed according to your wishes, as well as paying bills, closing banks accounts and so on. Find out about the duties of an executor.

3.    Set up a power of attorney – An enduring power of attorney allows someone to make financial decisions on your behalf, even if you lose legal capacity. In some states, a power of attorney holder can also make lifestyle decisions. In others, you need a separate document (eg enduring guardianship). Ask your solicitor about the relevant powers of attorney documents in your state.

4.    Guardianship – if you haven’t legally appointed a person to manage your affairs through a power of attorney and it becomes necessary to do so, then a family member or friend can be given guardianship to make decisions on your behalf about your lifestyle (health, where you live etc). An administrator can also be appointed by a guardianship board to manage your financial affairs.

5.    Consider a family trust – this canhelp you manage your family assets or business with potential tax benefits. A family trustmight also assist you with succession planning, wealth creation and protecting your assets, but make sure you’re aware of the tax implications. Trusts are very complex and you should get specialist advice to decide if they are appropriate for you. You should also discuss succession planning for any existing or new family trusts you may have with your solicitor.

6.    Nominate super beneficiaries – think about how you want your super to be distributed after you’re gone.Nominate your beneficiaries by completing a form from your super fund.  Make sure you keep your nomination up-to-date. If you don’t, the super money may end up in the wrong hands.

7.    Insure yourself to protect your loved ones – insurance helps you and your family in the event of unforeseen events, such as serious illness or injury or if you are made redundant. Find out more about the different types of insurance, some of which are available through your super.

Do you need help?

Estate planning can be a complex area and there could be serious legal and tax implications if you don’t have it set up correctly. But while it can seem a bit daunting, it can also give you real peace of mind.

So, if you want to make sure your estate is properly documented and reflects your wishes, please contact us on |PHONE|.

1 The Law Society of New South Wales, Making a will

Source AMP 13 October 2015


© AMP Life Limited. This provides general information and hasn’t taken your circumstances into account. It’s important to consider your particular circumstances before deciding what’s right for you. Although the information is from sources considered reliable, AMP does not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek qualified advice before making any investment decision. Except where liability under any statute cannot be excluded, AMP does not accept any liability (whether under contract, tort or otherwise) for any resulting loss or damage of the reader or any other person.