Don’t Put Off Until Tomorrow What You Can Do Today

Posted in: Wills and Estates Friday, 11 May 2018

It makes sense to plan ahead because the future is unknown. This is particularly important when considering what you want to happen beyond the end of your life.

4 Easy Steps to Achieving Peace of Mind

There are 4 easy steps to achieving peace of mind for yourself and protection for your family:
1. Review your estate planning documents – your Will, Enduring Power of Attorney and Advance Health Directive
2. Ensure you have a current Binding Nomination on your Superannuation
3. Put in place the right level of Life, Total and Permanent Disability and Trauma Insurance and Income Protection
4. Get a Funeral Plan

Where there’s a Will there’s a way

Your Will allows you to nominate how the assets in your own name (house, land, car, shares, savings etc.) are to be distributed. It is important to have a Will to:
  • Ensure that your wishes are clear
  • Name guardians for your children and provide for their future
  • Keep heirlooms in the family
  • Put in place appropriate financial and tax planning measures
  • Avoid family squabbles and disputes
  • Avoid the time, stress and financial cost caused by disputes
  • Reduce heartache for your family
  • Give you and your loved ones peace of mind 

No Will. No control

Dying without a Will can mean your assets will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy and not in the way that you would wish. That may mean:
  • Your spouse or partner having to share ownership of the home with your children
  • Forced sale of the family home or car to satisfy debts or to enable other beneficiaries to claim their entitlement
  • Your assets going to the Government if there is no person who is entitled to benefit
  • Potential conflict between beneficiaries of your estate
  • Wasted time and money to finalise your estate
  • Loss of the ability to determine who will administer your estate 

What if you don’t own anything?

Your estate might be worth more than you think. Most people have personal possessions and superannuation. Your superannuation may form part of your estate. Also, if you were to die accidentally there could be substantial sums of money from insurance payouts that form part of their estate.

Who makes decisions when you can’t?

An Enduring Power of Attorney gives you the comfort of knowing that if something happens to you, someone you trust has the legal authority to make the decisions that need to be made.

Don’t leave your health care decisions to chance 

An Advance Health Directive:
  • Outlines what medical treatment or health care you want if you can no longer make decisions for yourself. 
  • Enables you to appoint an attorney for health and personal matters
  • Includes information that health professionals should know, including health conditions, allergies, and religious, spiritual or cultural beliefs that could affect your care. 

Superannuation - it’s not your asset

Superannuation is increasingly a major asset for more and more Australians. However, it is not generally understood that trustees of the superannuation fund have the discretion to as to who, out of a limited range of people, should receive the death benefit.
You can remove this discretion by making a Binding Death Benefit Nomination, which requires the fund trustee to pay your superannuation proceeds to your intended beneficiaries or to your estate. 
A valid binding death benefit nomination remains in effect for three years from the date it is first signed, last amended or confirmed. 

Sleep like a baby!

Contact your financial advisor and your lawyer and ensure that you take the 4 easy steps to achieving peace of mind and protection for those who will be left behind. And sleep soundly!


About the Author

Alan Cumming

Alan Cumming
 | LLB (Hons)

Alan joined CLO Lawyers as a Director in 2016. With a highly accomplished legal career behind him, Alan brings to the firm extensive experience in estate and succession planning, asset protection, self-managed super funds, and tax reduction strategies.

For more information about him, see details here.

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