It is natural for many people to put off doing a Will or setting up Powers of Attorney. After all, no one wants to anticipate his or her own death. In addition, many people may believe that only the wealthy require estate planning or the process that is involved in tax and estate planning, can be put off and completed at a “later date.” However, neither is true. A Will and Powers of Attorney are essential for both young and old, irrespective of your level of wealth. Dying without a Will or with an invalid Will is known as dying Intestate. In such an event, laws are in place in each State to determine how your estate will be administered. This may result in your estate assets being distributed against your wishes as well as incurring unnecessary tax liabilities for your beneficiaries.
Limestone Insurance & Financial Services have teamed up with Ipswich and Brisbane based solicitors to offer you a complete Estate Planning solution, all in the one place. If you already have an existing solicitor, we can also work with them in facilitating or updating your estate plan.
What is Estate Planning?
An estate plan considers all your wealth, whether owned by you personally or controlled by you through a company, trust or superannuation and enables you to manage the transfer of wealth to the next generation, helping to ensure your wealth is properly protected and managed. It may also provide for care of family members who no longer have the capacity, or it may establish a charitable trust if you wish to leave such a legacy. An effective estate plan includes tax effective Wills to protect your estate and the interests of your beneficiaries in the event of your death. An estate plan can also take into account non-financial matters, such as who should care for any dependent children if you die, and what sort of medical treatment should be administered if you are incapacitated.
What is the difference between an adviser-facilitated estate plan, compared to going direct to a solicitor myself?
- If you are an existing client, we already hold many of your financial details, so we can document all your financials for the solicitor. If you are a new client, we ask many detailed questions about your finances so the solicitor can get a clear picture of your situation.
- Using cutting edge software, we provide you an Estate Briefing document, which includes:
- Your Family Tree
- Details of your financial assets
- Visual illustration of which assets go through the Will and which do not
- Details of specific bequests or gifts to be made
- What happens in the event of death
- Details of Executors, including a substitute Executor
- Details of Powers of Attorney, including a substitute Executor
- Details of child guardianship, if applicable
- Any specific funeral, burial or medical wishes to be included in your Will
Superannuation death benefits
Superannuation death benefits can often be your largest asset in addition to the family home. Super does not automatically go through your estate via your Will, therefore you should take steps to ensure that benefits are distributed according to your wishes.
It’s important to understand how your super fund trustee deals with death benefits. Some super funds distribute death benefits according to their discretion, which generally favours a spouse and minor children over other potential beneficiaries such as adult children. Some offer binding (and even non-lapsing) death benefit nominations which allow you to direct to whom your funds are paid. There are also tax implications – depending on who the money goes to. Therefore it’s important to create an estate plan that gets your money to the right people, at the right time, with the least amount of tax as possible!
Please note we do not give legal advice. We only facilitate the estate planning process and assist in information gathering. All the legal advice is provided via the Solicitor and not under Aon Hewitt Financial Advice Limited’s Australian Financial Services Licence.