You can’t take it with you – planning for peace of mind.
10 November 2021 | Featured
Kennas Client Resources
Estate planning – not a fun topic in anyone’s language. But before you scroll on, think about this. If you’re married, have children, have assets beyond the basics and/or own any part of a business, a will is probably not enough.
Wills and Estate Plans. What’s the difference?
The Will is a key part of the estate plan but it’s not the only document that’s needed to clarify your intentions for your health and care, your finances and interests, and also to minimise complexity and the tax implications for your beneficiaries. By law, your Will won’t include assets such as:
- Jointly-held property
- Proceeds of life insurance policies
- Assets held in trust
- Company assets
To control what happens to these assets, you need an estate plan.
Estate planning covers the span of time as you grow your wealth, protect that wealth and eventually transfer it via specific instructions in the plan. Ideally, your goal is to maintain the financial security of those you care for as well as yourself, bearing in mind your family and business’s particular circumstances.
When do I need an Estate Plan?
You may be thinking:
- Only the wealthy need an estate plan.
- I’m too young – I’ll get to it closer to retirement.
- Not concerned. It all gets sorted by our super fund/insurance/public trustee/accountant.
- Estate planning is expensive. And takes time.
- We made a will years ago – no need for further planning.
These excuses are, well, excuses. Estate plans don’t expire and everyone can benefit from having an estate plan sooner rather than later.
Yes, decisions have to be made. But it’s a living set of documents that can suddenly assume incredible importance if unexpected tragedy strikes. And if all facets aren’t clearly, legally articulated, the default actions may expose your beneficiaries to adverse tax and financial situations. So the answer to the question is ‘now’.
Estate Planning Guidelines are available
Take five minutes, (with your significant people, perhaps) to run through this Kennas Guide. It’ll get you started on those decisions and help you to focus on matters that really concern you – and those you don’t need to consider right now.
Key Documents for an Estate Plan
- Last Will and Testament and Guardianship
- Advance Care Directive (aka, Living Will, Health Care Directive or Proxy, Personal Directive)
- Superannuation and Insurance nominations
Aside from these essentials, you may also need a testamentary trust, directives for bequests to charities, digital asset instructions and to review your trusts and companies.
Naturally, your Kennas accountant/financial planner can help you investigate which financial strategies are appropriate, what the priorities look like, and work through some decision-making with you. There’s lots you can do to get into the right mindset. For starters:
- Use the guidelines. And talk to your family and business partners.
- Read more about ensuring your assets get to the ones you love in a previous blog, ‘How to Ensure Your Family Gets All Your Assets’.
- You can also access Kenna’s flyers, fact sheets and e-books on many aspects of planning for your estate – or even the estate of a loved one in their senior years.
Although the reward for all your efforts in estate planning will really only be seen by others, you can live in the here and now with great peace of mind.
We’re here to help. Call us on 4924 9100 or contact us by email and we can start the ball rolling to get a solid estate plan in place.