Estate Planning – it’s a team effort

Wills, Estates & Succession Planning 15 February 2021

The term ‘estate planning’ covers a number of documents and considerations – your Will, your Powers of Attorney, your superannuation, and anything else relevant to ensuring those left behind to deal with your estate after your death have everything they need to do so as smoothly as possible.  Estate planning does not just cover your estate after death, however, so when you are receiving advice about your estate planning, your advisor team will be making sure you are covered in case you become incapacitated and should consider any asset risk you might carry or be exposed to and suggest structures to minimise any potential loss.

Given all these matters come under the umbrella term of ‘estate planning’, it may come as no surprise that it is often important for us to consult other professionals to have their input and ensure we are setting up the most appropriate, holistic and effective estate plan for you.  This article explores who we might seek assistance from and why, so you can understand the rationale behind enlisting a team for your estate planning.

Your Accountant

If you have a regular Accountant, there is a good chance we will touch base with them, particularly if we are exploring any changes to your current structures or we need an idea of your financial position (particularly if you own a Company or have involvement in a Trust).

You are more likely to have ongoing contact with your Accountant, at the very least once a year when they assist you with your annual tax return, so they are in a great position to provide us with any tax considerations that may be relevant for your estate planning.  Further, they are the experts in providing advice about the potential tax consequences of any changes we may recommend – for example, they will be able to calculate Capital Gains Tax which may be payable if you were considering transferring an investment property.

Therefore, if we are working through your estate planning and we wish to speak to your Accountant, rest assured it is to ensure we understand your circumstances and avoid any adverse tax consequences for you.

Your Financial Advisor

If there was ever hidden gem in estate planning, it would be your financial advisor!  Not only do they have all the details about your financial circumstances, they also understand your financial goals.  As such, they are invaluable in ensuring your estate planning aligns with your goals.

Your financial advisor may also have an understanding of the various options we have for your estate planning, and be able to show you the maths behind the benefits of various options – for example, they can often calculate the tax benefits associated with incorporating Testamentary Trusts in your Will when you have young children.

Your financial advisor usually has direct access to information about your superannuation and life insurance (they may even have set this up for you), so they can ensure your Nominations for those accounts align with your estate planning.  Again, you are likely to have much more regular contact with your financial advisor than with your estate planning lawyer, so it would be remiss of us not to speak with them for their input.  If they are across your estate planning, they will also be able to remind you when your financial circumstances warrant a potential change to your estate planning.

You

Whilst there are other professionals we may call upon from time to time in relation to your estate planning (such as stock brokers, mortgage brokers, your bank and real estate agents), the most important person in your estate planning team is you!

You have to take the first step and make an appointment or complete our online Settify estate planning tool to get the ball rolling.  Once you do, you will provide us with your instructions (with our guidance) as to your wishes and preferences.  You will be provided with draft documentation and have the opportunity to ask questions about the recommendations we make.  Ultimately, you must sign your estate planning documentation to ensure it is valid and in place.

As such, while we (and the other team members mentioned above) will work with you through this process, you are our priority and our goal is to ensure you walk away with a tailored estate plan that meets your needs and gives you peace of mind.

Feeling inspired?

If you like the idea of working with us to prepare your estate plan, please contact us on the link below to get the ball rolling.  We look forward to being able to assist you soon.

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