They often say there are only two certainties in life …DEATH and TAXES.
As you can imagine, being Accountants – we are all over taxes!
But when it comes to Estate Planning, it’s something that you may not have discussed or want to discuss.
Obviously we cannot make recommendations or prepare a Will, but we are often involved in the structuring of an Estate Plan with your Solicitor.
And if you don’t have a Solicitor, we are happy to recommend one to you.
We have seen some deceased Estates administered in an orderly fashion, with effective Tax Strategies, and Centrelink benefits.
On the flipside, there have been some real nightmare ones where a lack of proper advice from a Solicitor and our input from a tax perspective, have led to some unfortunate and costly outcomes
Some important reasons to address your Estate Planning:
- If you die without a Will, an Administrator will distribute your assets in accordance with a Government Formula. It’s your money, you should decide who get is, not the Government.
- Any assets in joint names will pass directly to the survivor and bypass your Will. This can work both for and against your wishes without consideration from your Solicitor.
- Most people think of assets as being their house, bank account, shares, and Super. But Super is generally not an Estate Asset. It is up to the Trustee (Manager) of your Super Fund to work out who to give your Super balance to.
- A Binding Death Nomination will direct the Trustee in how to pay out your Super and any Life Insurance inside your Super Fund. It is very important to make a valid Binding Death Nomination which reflects your wishes. And unlike a will, there are restrictions on who you can nominate as your Super Fund Beneficiary. Generally you can only nominate your spouse, a child or your Estate (commonly referred to as your “Legal Personal Representative LPR”). There are some other options, but leaving your Super to your parents or sister/brother is not always a valid nomination.
- Power of Attorney documents are really important, but not often addressed. They can be issued for a specific purpose (such as while you are overseas on holiday) and they can be enduring (last through until revoked or death).
- There are three main power of Attorney documentsFinancial: Able to deal with decisions regarding Bank Accounts, Property, Investments and Super.
Medical: Able to decide what treatment is to be administered.
Guardian: Able to decide where you will reside i.e. rehabilitation centre or aged care facility.
It is generally advisable to address all 3 Power of Attorney documents at the time of preparing a Will.
A Solicitor will be able to appropriately advise on how to best address your Estate Planning needs. We recommend a joint meeting with ourselves and your Solicitor to make sure there are no adverse tax implications.