You spend a large proportion of your life working; working to get money to look after yourself, to provide for your family and to save for the future. Given the focus that is placed on creating wealth while you are alive, it seems logical to want some control over what happens to these assets once you are gone.
Estate planning is about giving you that control. Control to make sure that:
- the people you care about are looked after once you are gone; and
- your assets are passed to the people you want to receive them.
In simple terms, estate planning is about wealth succession – a process designed to help protect the wealth you have built over your lifetime so that it is distributed smoothly according to your wishes.
Estate planning is important for everyone. If you own anything or have people who rely on you, it is a good idea to have an estate plan. The more complicated your personal and financial affairs, the more important estate planning is.
There are certain times in your life when planning for the future becomes more crucial. The list below outlines some of the situations when you should review your estate plans:
- Getting married, living with a partner,
- Getting separated or divorced;
- Having children, including step children;
- Moving house, interstate or overseas;
- Buying real estate or other valuable assets;
- Relationship breakdown with other family members;
- Family separation involving other family members;
- Buying, selling or operating a business;
- Setting up a family trust or company ;
- If you have family members with special needs or children who are vulnerable.
How do I get an estate plan?
Estate planning is a complex area. It requires serious consideration on your behalf, as well as the expertise offered by a solicitor and accountant, in conjunction with the guidance of a financial planner.
An estate plan is an important part of managing your financial affairs. It will ensure that your wishes are carried out once you are gone, and importantly can help to protect the financial future of your family.