When you’ve worked hard all your life, providing for your family, building your wealth, and then hopefully enjoying your retirement, it seems logical that you would want to have some control over how your assets are distributed once you are gone.

Good estate planning does this.  It is about protecting your loved ones, ensuring assets are preserved, managed and transferred into the right hands, at the right time, as per your wishes, including those things which do not form part of your direct estate, such as your superannuation and pension accounts. 

It is also about setting out your wishes in the event you are unable to make decisions about your assets or your health when still alive.

Common estate planning terms:

  • Will – a legally binding document that details your final wishes with regard to the distribution of your estate after you die.
  • Beneficiary – a person or organisation who receives something in your Will.
  • Executor – the person responsible for administering (dealing with) your Will and the distribution of your estate.
  • Power of Attorney (POA) – a legal document allowing you to appoint someone else to act on your behalf either financially (such as a General Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney) or medically (such as a Medical Power of Attorney).

Common mistakes:

  • Not having a Will – it is not just the wealthy or retired that need a Will, no one can predict the future, and if you’re over 18, you’re not too young (or invincible) to have one.
  • Not updating your Will – ensuring your Will is up to date with your wishes is essential to ensure your assets go to the right people.
  • Not telling anyone you have made a Will and hiding it away – you need to make sure your chosen Executor knows where you Will is! This way, they can carry out your wishes as was intended.
  • Thinking a Power of Attorney is only for old people – just like a Will, it is not just the wealthy, retired or old, and again, no one can predict the future, so if you’re over 18, you’re not too young, but equally if you’re over 80, you’re not too old either.

Estate planning is important for everyone.  If you own anything or have people who rely on you, it is a good idea to have a good estate plan as it is an important part of managing your financial affairs.  The more complicated your personal and financial situation, the more important estate planning is.

Although we cannot construct or write your Will or Power of Attorney for you, we can, in conjunction with the expertise of your solicitor, ensure your estate planning needs and requirements are correctly in place, and most importantly, meet your desired wishes and help protect the financial future of your family.