Estate Planning

Death Is Not An 'If' But A 'When'. The Best Legacy You Can Leave Is A Clear Plan To Ensure Those Closest To You will be Financially Secure.

What do you plan to leave your family? Are you thinking about family heirlooms and much-loved pieces that you've collected along the way?

Do you have an estate plan? If not, it's time to put one in place. If you do have one in place, it may be time to review it. Death is not an 'if'; it's a 'when' and you need to be prepared. It's easier not to think about it, or decide not to update a will, let alone think about the potential conflict in the family. It's much easier to put your ‘head in the sand’ than face your mortality, take advice and put a plan in place-however that’s what is required. Milestone can help make the process much easier.

We all spend significant time and energy focused on accumulating and maintaining wealth, but many of us find it difficult to address estate planning. We plan for our children's education, help the family get the right start in life, get on the property ladder and plan for a comfortable retirement. Estate planning is just an extension of this lifetime planning, to ensure the continuation of your family's financial health.

Estate planning is not just about your will, it involves a number of elements that need to be considered and factored into your plans. These can include:
  • Reviewing your insurance policies
  • Checking your superannuation arrangements
  • Determining  guardians and/or trustees for families with younger children

It's also a good opportunity to put in place, or update powers of attorney, to ensure the right people are appointed to make financial decisions for you, if you were ever to lose the ability to do so for yourself. Also it is a chance to consider charitable giving within your overall planning.

Dealing with your estate plan should be seen as a positive matter. You have the ability to take control and put plans in place, which can be beneficial for your family and loved ones. Testamentary trusts are a good example. Established by the terms of your will, these trusts are structures that can help protect inheritances, particularly when dealing with young or vulnerable family members. You can appoint someone other than your children to manage inheritance until the time comes when the children are ready to manage their own financial affairs. These trusts can also provide great tax planning opportunities. Testamentary trusts are not overly complicated and are regularly included in the wills of ordinary Australian families.

There are also options available to better protect your wealth in the hands of your children. Reviewing your estate plan provides the opportunity to look at what can be done to ensure your wealth does not end up in the hands of an errant son or daughter-in-law.

Your family is special but not unique. It's normal to be concerned about your legacy becoming an issue amongst your family. Ensuring you have up to date plans will provide certainty to the family, which can go a long way in avoiding conflict.

One of the main reasons families fight over inheritances is expectations, more specifically unrealised expectations. Talking to your family about your estate plan means everyone will know what to expect and the chance of conflict is reduced. It also allows you to discuss any issues while you are still around to answer questions and help resolve matters.

Leave the best legacy for your family and take time to plan now. Solid planning secures your wealth for your children and grandchildren. Be prepared to face the hard issues to get the best outcome for your family. You will feel more comfortable once you've put a plan in place.

Milestone's Legal Facilitation Service provides access to an on-site lawyer who can assist you with Wills, Powers or Attorney or other estate planning matters. Your adviser will sit with you to ensure all aspects of your situation are covered.  To talk about ensuring you have appropriate plans in place, contact Milestone for a referral to our Legal Facilitation Service.