They say that life is what happens when you’re making other plans, and one thing is for sure, without a crystal ball we have no way of knowing what lies ahead. These everyday sayings underline the importance of estate planning as the way in which you make arrangements for the people you love who survive you. While discussions with family members about your wishes for your estate may be delicate, postponing them can lead to serious consequences. Read more to find out why you can’t afford to avoid estate planning and where to start in establishing or reviewing your estate plan.
It’s estimated that half of Australians will die without a Will , make sure you are not one of them. Your first step towards planning your estate may be to ask yourself outright: What would happen if I was to die in an accident tomorrow? It’s a confronting question, but nevertheless, it is vitally important that you have an appropriate answer. The questions that would follow such a sudden and tragic event include:
- Who can access my bank account?
- What will happen to my super?
- How will my assets be distributed?
- Will those I love most be okay financially if I’m not here to provide for them?
If you’re not 100% certain that you have formal arrangements in place that answer these and other important questions, it’s time to take action.
If you do have a Will, it is essential that it is kept up to date to reflect the inevitable changes in your personal circumstances. If you don’t leave a valid Will, the distribution of your assets will be determined by Intestacy Rules, which may not match your wishes. This could be very distressing for members of your family and, unfortunately, it may also lead to conflict that could be costly and time consuming to resolve.
Please remember too, that a Will only covers your personal assets. An estate plan aims to manage any wealth or assets, including those held outside of your Will, such as in superannuation, companies or trusts. Without careful planning, these matters could end up the subject of legislation or claims by other parties, and your beneficiaries could bear the brunt of unforeseen tax implications.
Experience has taught us that estate planning is most effective when there is active collaboration between you, your financial advisor, accountant and solicitor. Each professional has particular specialisations relating to establishing appropriate structures, managing risk insurance claims, transferring your investment portfolio, superannuation and bank balances and ensuring that those funds are distributed in accordance with your wishes, and in the most tax effective manner. Without collaboration among these key professionals, even the smallest misalignment in your affairs could cause disruption or delays in the distribution of your estate.
At ADX, we are well-placed to act as your advocate and central coordinator throughout the process. We will apply wide-ranging financial experience and insights to coordinate and manage the intricacies of your estate plan with a team of trusted professionals.
I invite you to complete our 5-Minute Financial Health Check and About Me Questionnaire which provides a succinct insight into your current financial position. Your information will be sent to us and will remain confidential.
For more information about your estate planning strategy, please contact Tony Bates at ADX Wealth on (02) 8115 9262 or by emailing Tony@adx.com.au.
 ASIC’s Moneysmart website, www.moneysmart.gov.au/life-events-and-you/over-55s/wills-and-power-of-attorney#wills
Tony Bates is a Financial Advisor for ADX Wealth and licensed under AFSL 500640.
The information (including taxation) contained within this document is of a general nature only and neither represents nor is intended to be personal advice on any particular matter. ADX Accountants and ADX Wealth strongly suggest that no person should act specifically on the basis of the information in this document, but should obtain appropriate professional advice based on their own personal circumstances.