As a senior planner in a Sydney firm some years ago I was looking after a large number of family groups predominantly in the pension and later stages of life. One of the key services of our offer was to ensure all clients had a robust Estate plan which often included getting the extended family involved, especially vital for those people who were well into retirement.
Over time I was able to gain expert knowledge from my peers and with further studies including becoming STEP accredited adviser I have had the opportunity to create many diverse and comprehensive strategies combining all the tools available to us. These included considerations for tax and succession planning. children with disabilities and of course the blended families.
I find working closely with trusted Estate planning professionals and an invaluable link to ensuring our mutual client gets the right advice from the beginning.
Why Estate Planning Is Important
If you’re like most people, getting your personal financial plan started can be a challenge. But what about planning your estate? A common misconception is that only wealthy individuals need to concern themselves with estate planning. This misconception can result in significant unnecessary costs to the estate and additional burdens for your loved ones. Just about everyone can benefit from the development of an estate plan. Young or old, wealthy or middle class, an estate plan can reduce the taxes and expenses of an estate, simplify and speed the transfer of assets to the next generation and help ensure that beneficiaries are protected.
An estate plan defines how you want your assets to be owned, managed and preserved during your lifetime and how you want them disbursed after your death. The plan also deals with the important decision about who will look after your estate.
Drafted properly, an estate plan can do the following:
Have an orderly transfer of assets
Your wishes are clearly stated and there is no confusion about what is meant to happen •
Administration of your estate is streamlined so it proceeds as quickly as possible •
Immediate needs of your dependants are considered.
Money is available to them when they need it
Transfer more tax-efficiently
Taxes and other expenses are minimized so the estate is as large as possible
Strategies like joint ownership of property or naming beneficiaries on life insurance and registered plans can be used to pass property directly to beneficiaries without cost
Disburse assets as you intend
By having a will, you control exactly how your estate is shared
You can include friends, extended family or charities who would not otherwise share in your estate
You can ensure that vulnerable people are protected
You can establish terms and conditions under which your estate will be distributed
Minimise burden on loved ones
You can appoint the best-qualified person (or professional) to be the executor in charge of the estate, removing the duty of a year’s work from people you do not wish to burden
Plan for business succession
Bill payments can be arranged to keep the business running
Strategies like estate freeze can be used to minimize capital gains taxes
You can arrange for beneficiaries who work in the business and those who work outside of the business to inherit different assets.
The 2014 Family Business Survey by PWC shows 1.4 million family business owners are planning to retire over the next 10 years however only 8 % of family businesses have robust succession plans in place. 38% of family businesses are planning to sell or float their business and 24% plan to pass it on to the next generation. (Source: 2014 Family Business Survey by PWC)
Make arrangements in the event of incapacity
You can appoint someone you trust to handle your financial affairs in the event you become mentally incapacitated
By having a Health Directive, you can leave instructions on what kind of medical treatment you wish, or do not wish, to receive if you are not able to speak for yourself.
An estate plan defines how you want your assets to be owned, managed and preserved during your lifetime and how you want them disbursed after your death. The estate plan also deals with the important decision about who will look after your estate.