Then there are the situational problems, where there is a failure to properly address family issues and dynamics.
So how do you define an estate plan that will work for you and your family when it’s really needed?
Let’s take a quick look at some of the features I would ideally wish to see in an integrated estate plan:
It should give you access and control over your property while you are alive and well. This won’t be the case if your assets are jointly titled with someone other than your spouse or if you fail to follow through on the terms of a property settlement agreement after a divorce.
It needs to provide for you and your family in the event you become incapacitated. Without a disability plan, your assets might end up in a Government- or Court-supervised guardianship where you and your family might lose total control. Disability planning includes taking care of both you and your property in the event that you can’t take care of yourself due to an injury or illness.
It needs to be in place before your death, to insure that your property will go where you want, when you want, and in the way you want. The alternative is to allow the state where you live at the time of your death to make your estate plan for you, and in most cases the state’s plan will not be the plan you would choose for yourself. Far better to put in place an estate plan that passes your property on to the beneficiaries you personally choose and then, if necessary, protects the inherited assets from the beneficiaries themselves, their spouses, their children, and outside influences.
It should address and hopefully minimise the financial and emotional costs associated with administering your deceased estate.
Failing to plan for these outcomes can only cost your family. Is that the legacy you wish to leave?
Death & taxes, illness & share-market corrections may be unavoidable … but they don’t have to ruin your family or your business. Make the effort to protect the people you really care about. Call Genders & Partners to create an integrated estate plan. And do it NOW … before it is too late.
Rod Genders is a senior Australian lawyer specialising in accident compensation and estate planning in Adelaide. His boutique specialist law firm is one of the oldest and most respected in Australia – visit it at www.genders.com.au . Rod is also a prolific author and speaker. Some of his articles and books on Wills, Probate, Trusts, Estate Planning, Asset Protection and Retirement Planning may be found at www.genders.com.au/adelaide-lawyer-blog.