Death or serious injury is not something we like to sit and contemplate but by planning now you can save a lot of heartache for your loved ones.
The term ‘estate planning’ might sound like you need to be wealthy, but you don’t need to be rich to plan for the future. A good estate plan covers not only the money and assets you leave behind but also details things such as a guardian for your children and what should happen to you if you become incapacitated.
Create a Will
The most common part of an estate plan is a Will. A Will can include items of:
- Financial value – houses, cars, shares or cash
- Sentimental value – books, furniture or photos
- Guardianship for your children.
A Will is important because without it, your estate may be divided in a way you had not planned. For example, if you die without a Will and have a spouse and children, your spouse won’t necessarily get your complete estate.
Complete your super death benefit nomination
Your superannuation is most likely your biggest asset outside of your house. It is possible for you to inform the Trustee of where you would like your super to go by filling out a death benefit nomination form. Binding nominations are valid for a limited time, you will need to complete a new form or confirm your binding nomination every three years. You should also revise your nomination each time your personal circumstances change (such as if you marry, divorce or have a child).
Create a living Will
By creating a living Will, you can detail your wishes in the event of you being on life support or if you need medical intervention. Without a living Will, your family may disagree about treatment, which could cause considerable distress.
Create a power of attorney or power of guardianship
There are generally two types of power of attorney/power of guardianship documents that deal with these issues:
- Financial – you appoint a person to act on your behalf on all financial matters such as paying your bills and selling assets.
- Health care – you appoint a person to make medical decisions on your behalf and can discuss your health issues and care with your medical professionals.
These types of documents are important should you become incapacitated. Be sure to discuss your wishes with the people you nominate beforehand so they can act appropriately.
See a professional
Getting your affairs in order doesn’t have to be difficult. Get professional assistance from a financial adviser, an estate planner or a solicitor – you’ll find it makes things a lot less complicated.
*This article is for general information purposes only. It is not intended as financial or investment advice and should not be construed or relied on as such. Before making any commitment of a financial nature you should seek advice from a qualified and registered financial or investment adviser.
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