If you are relying on your Will to protect all of your financial interests, you may be surprised to learn that a Will only covers your personal assets. Your other assets, including your business interests and proceeds from your superannuation fund, could become the subject of litigation or claims from unexpected sources. While your Will is certainly important, the solution to shoring up your legacy is to create an Estate Plan. And it’s important to understand that both your financial advisor and your accountant play important roles in planning and documenting your Estate.
Don’t misunderstand me, implementing a Will is important. Indeed, more people should have one. The NSW Trustee & Guardian website indicates that just 45% of people in NSW have a valid Will .
The consequences of dying without a Will may include all your worldly possessions and wealth being distributed according to a Government formula. This may not include friends or relatives who are one step removed from cousins. The point is that unless you have formalised your wishes, your wealth could very likely end up in Government coffers.
Your Estate Plan will, among other things, identify and execute an appropriate manner for holding assets for the benefit of your chosen beneficiaries. These assets could include superannuation and assets held in companies, trusts or business entities.
Failing to hold those assets in an appropriate structure has the potential to burden your beneficiaries with tax implications or claims from your debtors that may impact upon the future financial well-being of those you love most.
Collaboration among your advisors is the key to putting in place an effective Estate Plan. While traditionally the domain of solicitors, your accountant, financial advisor and other aligned professionals have specialist knowledge that must be brought to bear on the big picture of your Estate.
Honest, albeit sensitive, conversations with you and your family members about the need for Estate Planning and what it entails is equally important. As your financial advisor, we are familiar with initiating and managing the discussions necessary for implementing your Estate Plan, then coordinating the distribution of your wealth to your beneficiaries upon your passing.
Aside from organising your assets so that they are structured and distributed in accordance with your wishes, a clearly articulated Estate Plan will help to avoid confusion and possible conflict after your passing.
While nominating those you love as your intended beneficiaries is important, for some families it is even more so to identify those who you do not want to benefit from your passing. Extended families that include former spouses, current and ex-stepchildren, partners and ex-partners of your own children need to be considered so that unexpected claims on your Estate may be mitigated.
Our key role is to consider the complexities of your overall financial position and collaborate with those who have the expertise necessary to achieve the desired outcomes when the time comes for your Estate Plan to be executed.
For example, we will work with your accountant regarding the asset protection and tax structures needed to protect your wealth. We will manage claims on your insurance policies and how those monies, along with funds from the balance of your superannuation account, should best be distributed. We will also handle any debts.
We will, of course, work closely with your solicitor and other aligned professionals with the aim of creating an Estate Plan that fulfils your wishes and meets your agreed financial objectives. Importantly, we are committed to honouring your legacy.
Rest assured, in the event of your passing, you can also expect us to work compassionately with your executor and beneficiaries for disbursement of financial entitlements as you have outlined in your Estate Plan.
For more information about incorporating your Estate Planning so that it aligns with your overall financial plan and structuring of your assets, please contact your accountant at ADX Accountants, or me Tony Bates (email@example.com) your financial advisor at ADX Wealth on (02) 8115 9262.
Further, I invite you to complete our 5-Minute Financial Health Check and About Me Questionnaire which together provides a succinct insight into your current financial position. Your information will be sent to us and will remain confidential.
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.