Estate Planning is more than just a Will and Letters.
We meet all types of clients.
But despite their differing backgrounds, line of work or attention to personal finances, one thing remains truly consistent. Before they meet us, a significant portion have a sub-par estate plan, or more likely, no estate plan.
But they are not alone, only 19% of young families have an estate plan, and less than 35% of adults have a Will.
It might be because they’ve never written a Will, it might be that they did, but wrote it quickly before going on holiday and never came back to review it properly. Maybe they wrote it with a generalist lawyer, or indeed paid a high-level law firm to construct it, but regardless – many clients fail to realise that this is simply one piece of an Estate Plan for their family.
When considering the distribution of your Estate, it is important to consider to whom the assets will go, in what manner they will pass and what the tax effect is of doing it in this manner.
I have heard clients say in the past, “I don’t care, the kids can fight over it, it’s not my problem”. True. You won’t be around to worry about it, but is the legacy you want to leave one of uncertainty? These things are seldom solved amicably, and in the event it isn’t, there are generally two additional beneficiaries of the estate – lawyers and the tax office.
I recently reviewed recommendations prepared by a lawyer who had not considered additional structures in the will, which by virtue of the omission could cost the beneficiaries hundreds of thousands in income tax relief. Additionally, the ability to protect the assets in the event of divorce for the beneficiaries was also potentially lost.
Another revelation for clients is that most don’t realise that their Will doesn’t cover their super, and if the money from their super is paid to particular beneficiaries (including children), this could cause the super benefit to be taxed at 15% of the value of the fund. So basically a sneaky death tax. We work with clients to help mitigate this unnecessary impost levied by the ATO on their savings as part of a full estate plan for the family.
By taking a broader view of your affairs, coupled with understanding your beneficiaries, this enables us to build a Family Estate Plan – something that considers the differing backgrounds, lines of work or life stage of the beneficiaries.
This is something I’m passionate about. I’ve simply seen too many clients who haven’t got this sorted properly and they either think they have, or they’ve been putting it off.
Contact us for a coffee to discuss how we can help you.