Estate Planning outlined
Estate Planning is an important wealth management exercise that seeks to continue the good work of the testator in accumulating the wealth that they seek to pass on for the benefit of future generations. In estate planning outlined, we set out the series of posts that deal with critical elements of that exercise.
What is an Estate Plan?
An estate plan is a strategic approach to the administration and distribution of the assets of an estate.
An Estate Plan is a vital element of every family wealth management plan: it is also one that is little understood.
Estate planning is too often considered as ‘having been done’ when Wills (and Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs)) are in place. Whilst these are constituent documents of an estate plan, it is what other documentation and arrangements say about how your estate is to be administered that is more important.
An effective estate plan not only has the potential to maximise the amount of money available to distribute from the estate of a deceased person, it can also obviate unnecessary hardship for the people left to administer it (and for those who are intended to benefit from it).
What can be achieved through Estate Planning?
Pitfalls in estate planning can be avoided if potential issues are appropriately identified – and timely planning may highlight opportunities to enhance the value of an estate, to the greater benefit of the ultimate beneficiaries. Estate Planning professionals have identified three key considerations to an effective estate plan:
- The right funds: ensuring there are sufficient funds in your estate to meet your objectives; and then that they are put into –
- The right hands: providing for eligible estate assets to go where you want them to; and for control of those assets to pass to people who will manage them in an appropriate way; having received them at –
- The right time: ensuring all nominated beneficiaries will be old enough (and presumably mature enough) to manage their inheritance by the time they attain control; and that funds will be available in time to meet ‘estate liabilities’ and obligations (including bequests).
Preparation of a well-structured estate plan requires detailed analysis of your financial position and supporting resources, including information about assets held – and in whose/ what names they are held (ensuring that only eligible estate assets are bequeathed).
More about Estate Planning…
This is the first in a series of 13 articles on the topic of Estate Planning: further articles in the series seek to bring clarity to some of the issues and implications to be dealt with in fulfilling the three key considerations above – and to prepare you and your family to understand the final plan when drafted. The remaining articles consider –
- Estate planning flexibility;
- Asset protection using Estate Planning;
- Superannuation death benefit nominations and Estate Planning;
- Estate planning and Business Succession planning;
- Capital Gains Tax impact on estate planning;
- Estate planning and family loans;
- Estate planning and company-owned assets;
- Estate planning for a SMSF trustee;
- Estate planning and superannuation assets;
- Estate planning with a testamentary trust;
- Estate planning for younger children; and
- Estate planning dependent on a valid Will.
Note: Our articles don’t deal with the people who may need to be involved in implementing your estate plan, such as executors, trustees and possibly guardians. These are important appointments, but not critical to the design and structure of an estate plan. As the issues with them are more personal than financial, we leave their consideration to you and to your estate planning lawyer.]
Where can I get help with Estate Planning?
The Continuum Financial Planners Pty Ltd Estate Planning service offers clients:
- working with them to prepare the detailed information required for their appointed estate planning specialist lawyer; who can then
- consider the client’s individual detail in light of their estate planning experience so as to design a plan appropriate to the client’s present and known likely circumstances; and where needed
- provision of access to our referral connections of such professionals (to whom we are happy to refer you to match their expertise with circumstances such as your own).
To avail yourself of this service, contact our office (by phone, on 07-34213456; or our website Contact Us page) for an appointment with one of our experienced advisers.
(This series was first posted to our website over a period from late-2011 through early-2012; it has been refreshed, updated and re-posted in February 2015.)