Who needs Estate Planning?

Posted on Mar 24, 2021 by Louise Neilson   |   Categories: Wills & Estates, Wills, Powers of Attorney & Enduring Guardianships

If you died, would you be happy for a judge to decide who gets your things?  Yeah….I didn’t think so.

 Who needs Estate Planning?

You do.

Bottom line: If you’re over 18 years of age, you should have an estate plan. It’s even more essential if you’re married or in a relationship, have children, or are recently separated.

Estate Planning is not just for wealthy people.  Whilst estate planning is centred around how your assets will be distributed in the event of your death, there are also some other pretty important aspects too.

It’s about formalising plans for the care of your children.  It’s about ensuring that your life insurance and superannuation are paid out in a way that supports your intentions.  It’s about protecting your assets so that they are available to your very important persons after your death.

The way I see it is that estate planning is for people who care deeply for the people they love.  To me, this means pretty much everyone.

So, what documents make up an estate plan?

Your Will. Your Enduring Power of Attorney. Your Enduring Guardianship. Your Advanced Health Directive.

What is a Will?

A Will is a legal document that sets out your wishes for your property and assets after your death.   It details who you want to receive your assets, who you want to receive specific gifts or any family heirloom items, any special arrangements for your funeral, who you want as legal guardian for any children under 18 years and who you choose to look after your estate and ensure your wishes are carried out (the executor).

If you die without a Will, your assets will be distributed according to a legal formula.

How often should my Will be updated?

You should update your will whenever there’s been a significant change in your life, including:

  • Marriage
  • Separation or divorce
  • Death of your spouse or another beneficiary
  • You have another child or grandchildren
  • Adoption
  • Incapacity or death of your executor
  • Buying or selling significant assets

What about Guardianship of my children if I die?

In your Will, you can let your executors know who you want to appoint a guardian for children under 18.

Your children are the most precious people in your life, so their care is of the utmost importance. If one parent dies, the surviving parent will usually become the guardian of the child, unless this isn’t in the child’s best interest. However, if both parents die, the child will be cared for by the guardian you have appointed.

If you don’t appoint a guardian for your children, a Court may make the final decision on who your children live with. You need to think about this so that when you’re gone, your affairs remain peaceful.

Estate Planning is all about making sure your wishes are followed and leaving a legacy to those you love. Are you ready to have a chat about your legacy?  If so, please contact Louise and our Estate Planning team on (02) 4944 3322.