Many people may delay estate planning because they feel the process is too morbid or depressing, but it's vital to ensure you are adequately prepared should the worst happen.
A recent study published by the University of Queensland showed just 59 per cent of individuals have written a will. This means more than four in 10 people could find their assets are not distributed according to their wishes in the event they die.
Experienced wills and estates lawyers can help you organise how you may leave money and property to loved ones. Here are a few issues you may want to consider when estate planning:
1. Calculate your assets
A comprehensive inventory of your existing assets is essential. Look beyond your bank accounts and think about real estate, life insurance, superannuation funds, investments, vehicles and other prized possessions.
2. Appoint an executor
An executor is responsible for carrying out the instructions you set out in your will. The role includes many tasks, such as gathering relevant paperwork and paying your debts and taxes from the estate. Therefore, you should select someone who is capable, willing and organised.
3. Set up a testamentary trust
Trusts are a way for you to put assets aside for a beneficiary without giving them a lump sum upfront. A common reason for setting up a trust is because the beneficiary is aged under 18, so the assets are instead held until they are old enough to manage the responsibility.
4. Nominate a guardian
If there are people solely dependent on you for financial and emotional support, then nominating a guardian in your will may be necessary. The chosen individual will be required to take on major responsibilities, so make sure to ask the person in advance. You may also want to set aside some money to cover the dependent's care.
Please contact McCarthy Durie Lawyers to discuss your estate planning needs.