Estate Planning – are your affairs in order?
“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”. Benjamin Franklin
A good accountant can certainly help prevent or make more palatable “the taxes”. Unfortunately we cannot prevent the other!
“Death is a great leveller” (proverb)
It does not spare anyone. It is something for all of us to look forward to!
“Death never takes a wise man by surprise, he is always ready to go” Jean d la Fontaine (1621 – 1695).
Is your estate planning in order? It is critical every one of all ages knows what will happen to their affairs on their death or incapacity.
Do you have a will?
It is frightening how many people with significant assets don’t even have a will. If you don’t have a will your estate will be subject to intestacy laws. This means you will have no control over how your estate is managed and distributed. The State will administer your estate and may charge a commission like fee to do so. If your estate is significant then it could have a hefty fee to pay.
This is not desirable. If you don’t have a will get one done immediately!
Do you have an enduring power of attorney (EPOA)?
Something more frightening then dying without a will (let’s face it, it won’t be your problem anyway!) is to become permanently incapacitated without an enduring power of attorney. If you don’t have one and cannot act for yourself the State would act for you. This could place enormous stress on your family. Most people would rather a family member or someone they know and trust was making decisions on their behalf. If you don’t have one, you need to get one quickly. You need one regardless of your age and regardless of your wealth.
If you do have an EPOA, are the people you have appointed as attorneys still appropriate? You should review this regularly. Is your attorney aged and not capable of acting for you, or it would put a lot of undue stress on them to do so? If you have appointed a professional, are they still in business? Are your attorneys still alive?
If you do have a will is it still valid and appropriate?
Every time your circumstances or the circumstances of your beneficiaries change you should check to make sure you still have a valid will to carry out your wishes.
Do you know what assets are covered by your will and what assets are not?
Estate planning is no longer simply getting your wills done and putting in place Enduring Powers of Attorney. It is common these days for people to have accumulated a significant portion of their wealth in trusts, companies and superannuation funds. Under such arrangements you may “control” the assets but you don’t actually “own” them and therefore cannot “will” them.
Is your Estate Planning tax effective?
There are no longer death duties however there can be detrimental tax consequences if you get your estate planning wrong. It is important to seek advice to ensure your death doesn’t trigger unwanted tax burdens and that your plans provide flexible tax effective outcomes for your beneficiaries.
Flor-Hanly works with clients and their solicitors to ensure their Estate Planning is in order.
Contact us on (07) 4963 4800 or email to arrange a free discussion on how we can work with you.