17 Aug 2023 | Blog

Estate Planning: not merely a consideration for retirement

Will signing

Many individuals associate Estate Planning exclusively with those nearing retirement. This common misconception leads people to believe that Estate Planning is simply about creating a will.

However, did you realise that Estate Planning encompasses vital protection measures while you’re still living? Regardless of your age or situation, Estate Planning is relevant to all.

The Fundamental Elements of Estate Planning

Estate Planning ensures you have control over what happens to you and your possessions, whether you need someone to decide for you, or if you pass away and your estate must be distributed.

1. Advance Care Directive

If something happens and you can’t communicate your preferences about medical care and treatment, an advance care directive lets you:

  • Outline instructions regarding any future healthcare needs,
  • Express your desires concerning the kind of treatment you prefer (or want to avoid) to healthcare professionals, and,
  • Delegate a trusted person to make health care decisions for you.

Provided the directive is legal, it’s binding and can’t be overruled by medical staff or family.

2. Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney permits someone you choose to handle financial and legal matters for you if you become incapacitated due to illness, injury, or disability.

This allows vital financial and legal issues to be resolved without delay if you’re unable to do it yourself – like settling your bills, overseeing your bank accounts, managing your investments, and buying or selling real estate.

3. A Legitimate Will

While the first two components ensure your wishes are respected if you’re incapacitated, a will makes certain that your desires are fulfilled after your death. Having a will maximises the likelihood that your assets are distributed according to your intentions.

If you pass away without a legitimate will:

  • The public trustee will control how your estate is allocated, often involving extensive time and coordination with related parties.
  • Complications such as a complex estate, children from varied relationships, or having a new partner while being separated might lead to legal battles, family conflicts, and your assets being distributed contrary to your wishes.

4. Superannuation

Upon death, your superannuation is allocated to the person(s) you’ve specified in the fund’s death benefit nomination. If it’s non-binding on the super fund or if you haven’t selected a beneficiary, it may cause delays as the super fund trustee must decide on the allocation.

Superannuation doesn’t automatically fall within your estate. To guarantee your super is shared according to your wishes, appoint your legal personal representative. Your Executor will be obligated to distribute your super as outlined in your Will.

Estate Planning: The Pathway to Choice and Control

While building wealth is a key aspect of an excellent financial plan, safeguarding that wealth in case of your incapacity or demise is equally vital. Having your estate plan in order ensures that you have choice and control over how your matters and assets will be managed, benefiting both you and your family. If you’re interested in exploring your options for estate planning, don’t hesitate to reach out to us to begin.

The information contained on this website has been provided as general advice only. The contents have been prepared without taking account of your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should, before you make any decision regarding any information, strategies or products mentioned on this website, consult your own financial adviser to consider whether that is appropriate having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

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