Estate Planning – What is it and why is it so important?
The term Estate Planning may be recognized, by some, as just the involvement of a well-documented Will which outlines the wishes of a person after they pass away. However, we can all recognize that life changes, whether planned or unplanned and whilst having a Will is a key element in Estate Planning, there are more elements to consider that become a part of your Estate Plan. No matter what circumstances or what stage of life you are currently in, it is important to organize and maintain an Estate Plan.
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning involves more than just a well drafted and carefully considered Will. Estate Planning can be viewed as a “holistic plan” that aims to review the structure of your personal and financial affairs to ensure that you are looked after during your lifetime and that upon your death your assets will be manages and transferred in accordance with your wishes, in the most financially efficient and tax-effective way to the right people.
There are a number of elements that need to be considered when organizing your Estate Plan. Such matters to be considered include:-
- determining if there are sufficient assets in your plan that will meet your wishes.
- outlining the appropriate transfer of ownership, control, of assets and ensuring that they pass onto the appropriate person or entity; and
- that the relevant ownership or control passes to the beneficiary at the right time.
Depending upon your circumstances and intentions, Estate Planning, involves a consideration (and possible changes to) documents such as Trust Deeds, Power of Attorneys, Shareholder Agreements as well as Wills to ensure that your intended beneficiaries actually benefit from your Estate upon your death. That being said, having an Estate Plan needs to be revised from time to time depending upon changes to your circumstances.
Why is having an Estate Plan so important?
Estate Planning is considered to be one of the most important things you can do for yourself as well as for your loved ones. Having an Estate Plan is designed to ensure that your affairs will be handled in accordance with your wishes when you pass, allowing you to have that peace of mind that your loved ones will be looked after and your wishes respected. Having a comprehensive Estate Plan allows you to:-
- ensure your children are looked after and are protected from creditors or future relationships breakdowns;
- ensure certain consideration are in place, such as tax implications, that may affect your estate; and
- ensure the legacy of your assets, such as ownership of multiple properties, companies or trusts are dealt with accordingly in line with your wishes.
If you wish to talk to one of our lawyers about your Estate Plan please give our office a call to arrange an appointment. It is never too early and never to late to have your affairs in order.