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The Simple Estate Planning Checklist You’ve Been Waiting For

An estate plan is a whole lot more than just a will. It’s an essential part of your overall wealth management and strategic financial plan.

An estate plan is a whole lot more than just a will. It’s an essential part of your overall wealth management and strategic financial plan. Some people make the mistake of assuming estate planning is only for the rich, but if you have a family, a business or a mix of assets in addition to your home, an estate plan gives you control over how these assets pass on.

If you don’t have a valid will when you die, you’ll be ‘intestate’. No, your body won’t be taken over state lines. Far worse, your assets will be divided up in accordance with a formula set out in legislation, instead of you deciding who will receive your estate. As you can imagine, this can lead to unexpected and unintended results.

What’s Included in an Estate Plan?

Boiled down, an estate plan factors in the following elements:

  • Important people in your life, including powers of attorney and guardians of children
  • Your wishes upon death, including distribution of your assets and gifts
  • Structuring your assets appropriately
  • Superannuation planning
  • Tax structuring through trusts
  • Life insurance
  • Business succession planning

Preparing for the Estate Planning Process: An Estate Planning Checklist

There are a number of fundamental considerations and strategies that support the creation of a robust estate plan. Some simple strategies may be actionable on your own, while others call for professional advice or support. The main thing to remember is that every family and business has different needs, structures and assets, so there is no one-size-fits-all estate plan (looking at you cheap “online will kits”). 

Before you embark on the process, the below estate planning checklist will get you thinking about the right approach for you and your family, and help you to understand what’s possible.

  1. Discuss Your ‘Trusted People’

One of the most productive things you can do in formulating your estate plan is to begin discussions with your family on who the ‘trusted people’ in your world are. Who will step into positions of care and control should something happen to you, your spouse or both of you?

There are numerous roles of responsibility within a comprehensive estate plan, such as executors, guardians of children, trustees, appointors or powers of attorney and there may be trusted people in your life that are suitable for some roles and not others. An experienced advisor will help you navigate these roles and nominate the right people.

  1. Collect Your Assets and Liabilities and Gain An Understanding of Ownership 

Do you have a clear picture of your personal assets and liabilities? This is crucial knowledge leading into an estate planning conversation. One of the most important exercises to go through with your estate planning advisor is a discussion around specific wishes for specific assets. Understanding each asset and the ownership implications upon death can be worked through with your advisor to ensure your wishes are met.

  1. Maintain and Monitor Your Estate Plan

Like the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, there is nothing permanent except change. One of the most important aspects of any estate plan is that it remains current and reflects your wishes. A key benefit of a comprehensive estate plan is that you can arrange and plan for multiple circumstances, and will only need to amend your will if there’s a significant change in personal circumstances. In any case, we recommend asking yourself annually, have there been any material changes in my world that warrant me revisiting my estate planning?

Get in Touch with a Qualified Financial Advisor

BlueRock offers a multidisciplinary approach to estate planning that brings together the expertise of our lawyers, financial advisors and SMSF experts. Now that you’ve read through our estat eplannign checklist for Australia, you might want to establish a structurally sound estate plan that represents your wishes. Meet with one of our certified financial advisors and discuss your unique situation today!

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