Estate planning is an umbrella term that covers the strategy that a person has made to deal with their assets for when they pass away. Importantly, estate planning is not limited to planning how your assets are distributed after a person passes away, it can also include the plans that a person has made about how they are taken care of, or who gets to make decisions on their behalf, for when they lose capacity.
It’s surprising to find out that 52% of Australians do not have a valid Will in place. While there are laws that dictate how your assets will be distributed if you do not have a will (the rules of intestacy), this may lead to your assets being distributed in a way that did not reflect your intentions. As such, it is important to create a will.
Power of Attorney and Guardianship
A normal Power of Attorney allows a person or an organisation to make decisions of your behalf or act in your stead. The range of matters that the person nominated in the document can be specified. One limitation of a normal Power of Attorney is that it ceases to operate (the person loses their authority) when the nominator loses capacity.
An Enduring Power of Attorney is similar to a normal Power of Attorney, but it enables a nominate person to act on behalf of the nominator when they lose capacity.
A Guardian is a person that the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal has appoint to help an adult with impaired decision-making capacity. A guardian ensures that the adult’s needs are met, and their interests are protected by being provided the authority to make lifestyle or health decisions on behalf of the adult. Advanced Health Care Directives
An Advanced Health Care Directiveallows you to express your wishes about the medical treatment you receive and how you would like your body to be dealt with in the event that you are unable to express these wishes yourself. Superannuation
Your Superannuation it is not an asset of your estate, and as such, will not included in your Will. Your superannuation will be distributed as a superannuation death benefit. Nominating a beneficiary can help you ensure that your death benefit (which includes your super account balance and any insurance benefits payable) are passed on to your loved ones. Trust Structures
A Testamentary Trust is a trust that is created according to your Will and may have several advantages. Testamentary Trusts are particularly useful if you would like your monetary assets to be distributed to your beneficiaries in a structured manner and for specific things as opposed to being given to a beneficiary as one lump sum. Is your Estate Plan up to date?
Like most plans, your estate plan estate plan may only reflect your interests at one given time. Your circumstances will change, and it will be important to put plans in place to periodically review your estate plan so that they truly reflect your wishes.
Estate planning can be complex. Additionally, talking about things for when you pass is equally difficult. If you want to discuss your estate plan, call DLQ today to arrange an appointment.