Get In Order in 2017
One of your New Year’s resolutions may have been to get organised in 2017, or maybe it’s on your list of New Year’s resolutions every year. Well, in getting organised, here are some of the things you should think about to make sure that the wealth you are creating is not lost if something happens to you.
- Choose multiple executors in your Will, to both make sure that they are each accountable and transparent in their role, but also in case something happens to one of them the other executor can still obtain probate of your Will (rather than someone you didn’t appoint having to step forward and seek Letters of Administration). Keep control of who runs the show.
- Choose guardians for your children in your Will. These don’t have to be family members, but also ensure you have at least one substitute guardian if your primary guardian cannot do the job.
- If you have young children, you will also need powers of attorney, and make sure that you give them to power to maintain your dependants. This is often glossed over, but giving this power is equivalent to appointing a temporary guardian whilst you’re still alive.
- Consider creating a testamentary trust (or multiple trusts) for your estate to be inherited into for your beneficiaries. There are asset protection benefits and tax benefits to doing this.
- Have you finalised your property settlement or divorce with your ex-spouse, to ensure they haven’t got a claim against your estate if something happens to you?
- In considering who your beneficiaries will be, you should think about Centrelink pensions and the consequences of leaving assets to that person. Remember, the Centrelink asset test changed again at the beginning of 2017 (and will continue to change, so please review your wishes if one of your beneficiaries is on the pension).
- Consider what assets are actually in your estate, and whether you want some removed, or whether you want to simplify the situation. Removing assets from your estate can protect them against a claim, if you want to disinherit someone.
- Review the life insurance you have, along with income protection and total permanent disability insurance. You don’t want to be leaving your spouse or family short on cash and still in debt if you are no longer here.
I know it’s not fun, or even easy to think about, but you will have a great piece of mind once you have completed this process.