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How to Plan Your Estate and Retire With Ease

Discussing topics of end-of-life issues like wills and estates can be a touchy subject. However, it’s critical to overcome this stigma and view estate planning as integral to your overall financial strategy.

When it comes down to it, the process is all about ensuring that your wealth and investments are passed down to your family or beneficiaries in the most efficient manner possible.

What is Estate Planning?

People often associate estate planning with wills, but it is much more than that. Estate planning is the process of deciding what you want to happen to your assets and affairs when you die. It is also essential to have a trustee in case you can no longer make rational judgements.

Research reveals that over half of Australians do not have a legal will, and most of those do not have a thorough estate plan.

Here are things you can do to plan your estate the right way and protect the people you love. Read on!

1. Compile Your Assets and Liabilities

Make a list of everything you possess in your name and put a monetary value on the estate. The inventory should include the following:

  • Debts
  • Savings accounts
  • Investment assets e.g. shares or bonds
  • Businesses
  • Properties
  • Vehicles
  • Collectibles
  • Items of sentimental value
  • Life insurance policies
  • Superannuation

2. Make Important Decisions Ahead of Time

A proper estate plan will specify what to do if you’re no longer able to make rational decisions. Protecting your family and your personal interests entails delegating authority to those you can rely on.

  • Making a Power of Attorney, Power of Guardianship, or an Advanced Care Directive will provide your family with specific instructions on how to handle your medical or financial requirements if you become incapacitated.
  • Appointing a Guardian ensures that your children or pets are cared for by people you trust when you die.
  • When planning your affairs, life insurance can provide an added layer of security. This can be used to pay off any obligations in a deceased person’s estate or to offset possible capital gains tax liabilities.

3. Create a Will

After you’ve compiled a list of your assets and liabilities, you should draft a formal will. The distribution of your assets after you have paid off your responsibilities should be specified in your will. You can add specific bequests in your will if you have any.

4. Assess Your Beneficiaries

If you’ve made a will, you’ve probably already selected your beneficiaries. However, some intangible assets held in your name do not necessarily pass to the beneficiaries listed in your will.

Superannuation savings and life insurance policies are not linked to your will. Therefore they must be designated individually with each provider. This is something you may have done when you initially set up your accounts and policies, and it should be reviewed and modified as part of the estate planning process.

5. Appoint an Executor

The executor is the individual who will carry out your last wishes when you pass away. An executor should be someone you trust and who has some financial understanding, as they will be in charge of paying off debts and administering your Estate under the terms of your will. An executor might be a family member, a close friend, a solicitor or a public trustee.

6. Review Your Plan Regularly

Over time, your estate and family are constantly changing. Every few years, you should go through your estate planning paperwork and amend them as needed. This will ensure that your estate plans always reflect your intentions by revising the essential paperwork every few years.

Estate Planning: Now Is the Best Time to Plan!

There are several aspects to consider when it comes to effective estate planning, and it is worthwhile to ensure that it is done correctly. Working with a financial adviser, solicitor, and accountant may put you in a better position to create an estate plan that is tax-efficient and reflects the exact results you desire.

The sooner you start planning your estate, the better your chances of securing a bright future for you and your family. At Coastal Advice Ballina Byron, our financial planning service offers a customised experience that fits your unique situation and needs. Book a free consultation with a financial planner in Byron Bay and plan your estate today!

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author; they are not reflective or indicative of RI Advice Group’s position and are not to be attributed to RI Advice Group. They cannot be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of the author. This information (including taxation) is general in nature and does not consider your individual circumstances or needs. Do not act until you seek professional advice. Newcastle Financial Planning Group, Central Coast Financial Planning Group, Sydney Wealth Advisers, Coastal Advice Port Macquarie and Coastal Advice Ballina Byron are subsidiaries of Coastal Advice Group Pty Ltd which is a Corporate Authorised Representative of RI Advice Group Pty Ltd, ABN 23 001 774 125 AFSL 238429.