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Estate planning guide

Estate planning guide – things to consider

This brief estate planning guide is intended to help you in your preparation for either creating or updating your estate plans. 

It provides you with a list of key questions and decisions to be made. This allows you to think through some key decisions in advance, before discussing them with one of our estate planning experts who will guide you through the process.

1. Executors

The executor’s role is to administer your assets in accordance with your Will.

2. Guardians

These are the people who will look after your children who are under 18.

3. Distribution of assets

Who do you want to leave your assets to if you are:

  • survived by your spouse
  • not survived by your spouse but you are survived by children
  • not survived by your spouse or any children or grandchildren?

4. Testamentary trust Will

A testamentary trust is a discretionary trust established in your Will and takes effect on your death. There may be asset protection and income tax advantages in using this kind of trust. In our meeting we will discuss whether testamentary trusts are appropriate in your circumstances.

5. Superannuation

Do you have a self-managed superannuation fund? If so, we will ask to see a copy of the trust deed and recent financial statements.

Have you made a binding or non-binding death benefit nomination for your superannuation?

We will also ask you to bring your latest member statement and a copy of your binding or non-binding death benefit nomination form of any other superannuation fund of which you are a member.

6. Do you have life insurance?

If so, who is the nominated beneficiary of your life insurance policies?

7. Do you have a family trust or company?

The assets in a family trust or company will not actually form part of your estate as the assets are not owned by you and will continue to be owned by the company or trust when you die. Therefore, you have to plan for the transfer of the control of these assets.

We will request copies of the trust deed and constitutions for the companies and also recent financial statements so that we can ensure that we deal with these entities in accordance with your wishes.

8. Do you have an Enduring Power of Attorney in place?

An Enduring Power of Attorney allows someone else to make decisions for you during your lifetime if you cannot make decisions for yourself.

You can appoint attorneys for financial and for personal and health matters and you can decide how your attorneys make decisions.

9. Do you wish to make an Advance Health Directive?

An Advance Health Directive provides specific instructions about future health decisions. This form must first be completed in consultation with a Doctor.

Further information

Following are some additional documents that cover a range of estate planning issues: