They say there are only two guarantees in life – death and taxes, so ensuring your assets are left to the right people after you have passed away is a critical part of any financial plan.
It is, however, one that is often overlooked or deferred. We continue to be surprised by the number of people who have personal Wills which are from many years ago and do not reflect their current wishes. More concerning is that many more individuals do not have a Will at all.
If you do not have a current Will and Estate Plan generally that reflects your wishes, your assets may not be distributed to your preferred recipients and could cause unnecessary conflict or hardship. We would recommend all our clients have a Will and an Estate Plan in place. We can assist with the Estate Planning process and liaise with a lawyer who will prepare the necessary legal documents.
For individuals with adult children, you may wish to engage them with this process or you may not want to include them at all. Do you tell them everything? Do you give them money while you are still living?
A Testamentary Trust in your Will may be a worthwhile consideration. Testamentary Trusts are very beneficial from an income tax point of view and also offer additional protection to keep the assets in the bloodline.
Finally, it is also important to remember a Will only covers assets in your own name. Assets owned jointly (except as Tenants in Common) will bypass the Will and go directly to the surviving spouse. Assets in a trust continue to be held in the trust and super funds require their own nomination. Being mindful of all the parts of the Estate Plan is extremely important and specialist advice is recommended.
If you would like to discuss your Estate Plan, please contact a member of the William Buck team.