Your Estate Planning checklist

Written by Ronald Pratap

on March 16, 2020

Estate planning is more than just having a will; it’s an overall financial management plan.

A study by the Financial Planning Association (FPA) showed that the motivation for over 60% of Australians to build wealth is to build a better future for their families. That’s something most of us can relate to, right?

Despite this, a study conducted over 20 years by The Williams Group found that over 70% of families failed to successfully transfer their wealth between generations due to a lack of communication and planning.

This, compounded with the office of the NSW Trustee & Guardian statistic that at least 45% of Australian’s do not have a valid will, means that estate planning is something that needs to be addressed.

When making a plan for the future of your assets and family, here’s what you need to consider.

  1. Get your will sorted

If you don’t have a will your assets will be distributed according to the intestacy laws of your state, which means they may not go where you want them to. If you do have a will, remember to regularly update it.

An unclear plan can also lead to family disputes, which could in turn result in considerable costs and lengthy delays in accessing your assets.

  1. Superannuation

Different funds have different rules when it comes to paying out your death benefit. Your superannuation balance will usually be paid to your dependants or legal representative.

Dependants can be defined as any person who is financially dependent on you, such as your current spouse or partner, your children or any other person who is financially dependent on you.

If you don’t have any dependents, the total balance will be paid to your estate and dealt with according to your will.  Nominating beneficiaries ensure your superannuation will be distributed to the right beneficiaries.

  1. Life insurance

When it comes to your life insurance, nominating your beneficiaries is the most important thing you can do. This ensures the right people are protected.

It’s also a good idea to investigate whether your policy includes funeral insurance or a funeral benefit. If it does, this means that your family will be supported in managing the financial costs of your funeral.

  1. Health care directives and power of attorney

Who will you nominate to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to? A power of attorney (POA) should know what you want when you want it. There are various types of POA’s that allow them to make decisions on your behalf.

  1. Consider your kids

If something happens and your kids aren’t of legal age, can you be sure they’ll be looked after the way you want them to be?

If there are no specific guardianship instructions, any person with an interest in your child, including grandparents, aunts and uncles and even cousins, can apply for guardianship.

This means your children may end up being looked after by someone you don’t necessarily want involved in their care.

Steps to estate planning

There are a few simple steps to the estate planning process:

  1. Create a list of all assets including personal assets such as homes, artwork, etc, and assets that form part of your estate. Separately, list out any trusts, superannuation and life insurance where you may need to nominate beneficiaries
  2. Identify any potential risks that may arise, such as death, divorce and mental incapacity. Talk to your solicitor about mitigating these, and don’t forget, we can help you out too.
  3. Make decisions about where you want your assets to end up. This is something we can walk you through so you feel confident to make informed and smart decisions.

Where to now?

Estate planning isn’t something people like to think about, but it’s one of the most important things you can do to ensure your loved ones are taken care of.

We’re here to help make the process as easy for you as possible. If you’d like to discuss more or you need help with getting in touvh with the right professionals, get in touch with our Oran Park office located in the Macarthur area by calling (02) 9188 1547 or emailing admin@rpwealthmanagement.com.au

Ronald Pratap

Principal Financial Planner at RP Wealth Management | Financial Planning l SMSF I Insurance l Property Advisory. Our purpose is to provide our clients with sound advice and direction to assist with their financial affairs and help them make the best choices in achieving what is important to them.

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