What is Estate Planning?
To understand Estate Planning you need to understand what an estate is.
An estate is the assets and liabilities you leave to your leave ones when you’re gone. An estate can include a will, life insurance, superannuation, death benefits, cash, shares, property, trusts, business, debts and other assets and liabilities in your name.
Some people think that Estate Planning is only for wealthy families. It’s fair to say that wealthy families are more likely to have an Estate Plan because there are more assets to distribute, however if you’ve got insurances, superannuation and a range of assets you might need an Estate Plan too.
3 Steps to Estate Planning
- Find an accountant or financial adviser to help you set up a financial structure that will safeguard your assets while you’re alive and when you’re gone. It might include setting up trusts to minimise the tax your loved ones pay. Estate Plans an also help to maximise the financial legacy you leave.
- Choose who and where your assets will end up when you’re gone.
- Sit down with a solicitor to put together your Estate Plan.
CSL Lawyers Yeppoon partner Leonie Davey says to put together a comprehensive Estate Plan you’ll need to bring a range of documents to your first appointment.
“Estate Plans need to be comprehensive road maps that clearly direct your assets to the right destination. To start that process there are quite a few documents you’ll need to get your hands on before you come to see us at Yeppoon Lawyers.”
15 things to bring to your Estate Planning appointment
- Proof of identity
- A Financial structure from your accountant
- Superannuation Policies
- Life Insurance Policies
- Death Benefit Policies
- Bank assets
- Property Assets
- Business/Business Assets
- List of Beneficiaries
- Advanced Health Care Directives
- Power of Attorney
- Funeral Instructions
“It can take a while to pull together all the information and documentation you need for an Estate Plan. That’s time well spent though.
If you don’t have an Estate Plan, the distribution of your assets to those you love can take years. Not only that, if the Estate Plan’s not set up right, your beneficiaries could lose a significant portion of what you leave them to tax,” Yeppoon Lawyers Partner Leonie Davey said.