Estate planning should take into consideration two major scenarios:
- Death of a person;
- Loss of legal capacity of a person
Another way of explaining Estate Planning is that it effectively plans financially for the loss of one’s capacity due to death or disability (taking taxes, wishes, directions of the primary person including to a varying degree other beneficiaries’ interests).
This estate plan normally retains the said person as the primary beneficiary while they are alive (regardless of incapacity) and then the secondary beneficiaries (who become primary) on the death of the person (original primary beneficiary). OK, so that didn’t help but let’s move on…
Planning for your death:
Sorry death is not an option, like everyone else- you will die!
This involves developing a strategy to deal with your assets after you die – the legal instruments and structures, such as a will, you put in place to transfer your assets in the event of death.
Some say tax is a major consideration in estate planning, and strong governance relating to the tax aspects of estate administration can help manage the risks. It is important but there are other major considerations.
- Are all the beneficiaries going to be treated equally?
- Have you already provided for any beneficiary?
- Do any of the beneficiaries have special circumstances?
- Would any of my stated beneficiary contest the will?
- What assets will be part of the estate?
- How can I minimise disgruntled beneficiaries from undermining my testamentary disposition; that is, spoil what I want to happen with my funds when I die!
- Whom can I trust to provide me with estate planning advice?
- Who would be the best executor and trustee of my estate?
- Is a testamentary trust appropriate?
- What the hell is a testamentary trust?
- Does superannuation form part of my estate?
More questions than answers, but knowing the right questions will provide half the right answers (old Chinese proverb) …
Planning for your incapacity:
This is a real possibility for many. Medical science has been great for keeping our bodies going but not that great for our minds…
Medical treatment and lifestyle decisions will need to be considered.
It is important to note different states have different ways of dealing with medical and lifestyle decisions for a person who is mentally incapable of making such decisions. Such methods may include:
- Power of Attorney (medical treatment) – attorney has the power to give and in certain circumstances, withhold consent to medical treatment on your behalf
- Enduring Guardianship – guardian has the power to make personal and lifestyle decisions for you should you lose mental capacity, including decisions as to where you live and who with • Enduring Power of Attorney – attorney has the power to act on your behalf during your life, in relation to your investments and other financial matters
- Advance Health Directive – a document in which you can express your wishes about medical treatment and how you would like your body to be dealt with in the event that you are unable to make these decisions for yourself.
- Living Wills- It is a statement of my preferences to my enduring guardian(s) and if no guardian(s) being appointed, then to my physicians and other healthcare providers as to my wishes with regard to specific treatments or procedures to use in the event of my incapacity.
SFR ESTATE PLANNING SERVICES ARE HIGHLY REGARDED.
Let us help you through this very important matter that effects everyone!