At Heard Financial, we not only want our clients to achieve their financial goals, but we also want to help provide them with peace of mind that their financial affairs can be managed should they become unable to. We also want to ensure that clients' estate planning objectives can be met upon their death. This includes ensuring that surviving spouses have access to cash and that estates can be passed to their intended beneficiaries as easily and as practically as possible.
We offer a comprehensive estate planning service. We can provide you with a detailed report reviewing your asset base and recommendations to ensure the most efficient transfer of assets from your estate to your spouse and other beneficiaries. Once you are comfortable with those recommendations, your solicitor will prepare the necessary documentation.
Estate planning is not just about having a will. It is about having a plan in place to ensure that throughout your life you are empowered to make decisions about your financial and medical affairs. Certainly, you want to ensure that your wishes are met upon your death or severe disability.
Some important considerations could include the following:
Who will benefit from your inheritance or legacy?
When leaving an inheritance or legacy, it is important to make sure that your assets go to the right person, be it spouse, child, grand child or to a charity. Without adequate planning, a former spouse, the Australian Tax Office, creditors or professional fees may take more of your estate than you thought.
When should beneficiaries benefit from your legacy?
We often see clients who want to help out their kids and grand children as they understand the higher cost of living today, be it with school fees or a deposit for a house. Few consider how they want to pass on wealth and when.
In every circumstance, consideration should be given to an appropriate age for beneficiaries to receive legacies. Is 18 too soon? Will it be wasted? What protections might be put in place to ensure the longevity of your estate to younger beneficiaries?
Who do you want to act on your behalf?
In addition, if you do not have documentation in place, others will not be able to act on your behalf if you become unable to do so yourself. This includes the ability to perform financial transactions or to make medical and lifestyle decisions. Where mental capacity may be an issue, or someone requires urgent medical treatment, this documentation is critical.
Guardianship documentation is acutely more important than a will itself as you will be around to experience the effects.