“Serving Families and Individuals throughout Adelaide South Australia and surrounding areas”
You have arrived. Just an eye-blink ago you were starting out with high-hopes and empty pockets. How did you get to this place in life so quickly? What do you need to do right now in preparation for that day?
Chances are good that all of your children have left the nest with growing families and lives of their own. If your parents are living, perhaps you are becoming “parents” to them just like they did for their parents before them. This probably includes taking care of their personal, health care and financial responsibilities.
This is often an exciting, yet bittersweet time of life.
Now is a good time to create (or revisit and update) your estate plan and make sure your adult children and parents have their legal ducks-in-a-row, too. After all, you likely have witnessed what can happen when families are not up-to-date with their estate planning. It’s always on the news, and it’s always sad and alarming. But that won’t happen to your family, will it?
Unfortunately, many married couples mistakenly assume that they can automatically make personal, health care and financial decisions for one another should either spouse become legally incapacitated due to a serious injury or illness. But that’s only partially true.
Without proper estate planning to appoint your spouse as the incapacity decision-maker, he or she will not have full legal authority to make all of the important decisions that may need to be made for you.
- privacy and confidentiality laws will bar access to your medical records;
- the ability to consult with your attending physician;
- banking & financial laws limit control over personal finances;
- superannuation regulations do not permit spouses automatic access to information or funds.
Unless you legally appoint the decision-maker of your own selection in advance through proper estate planning, then a court or tribunal will select one for you if the need arises. While they might appoint your spouse, the process to accomplish this is time-consuming, expensive, frustrating, intimidating, and it discloses your private personal and financial information to the public record and is a real hassle for you and your spouse.
Did you know that in the absence of proper estate planning, your assets may be distributed after death based on “one-size-fits-all” state laws written for people who do not have their own estate plan? Of course, this impersonal estate plan written by state lawmakers probably will not reflect your own unique circumstances and objectives for your spouse and assets.
Fortunately, we can help you avoid disaster and replace that impersonal, state-written, one-size-fits-all estate plan with one we design together for your unique circumstances and objectives. We can help you coordinate the beneficiary nominations on your life insurance and superannuation with your estate plan to avoid unpleasant, unintended consequences.
Now, let’s consider something no married couple wants to think about.
What if one spouse dies and the other remarries?
You don’t want to risk losing about half of what you have if the remarriage doesn’t work out or disinheriting your own children and grandchildren, so it is best to go into a new relationship with both eyes open.
The surviving spouse could consider a legally enforceable Binding Financial Agreement before saying “I do” on his or her wedding day.
In a recent study, researchers found that 60% of widowers are involved in a new relationship within two years after losing their wives, while only 20% of widows have a new relationship.
Apparently, men are 10 times more likely to remarry after age 65. And the average time before they are remarried is just 2.5 years. When dad remarries a new wife some 20 years his junior that can trigger all kinds of drama in the family!
As you can see, planning for being single again includes planning for any new relationships in the future, while preserving (and protecting) the relationships you already have.
When it comes to your children and grandchildren, great care should be given to protect any inheritance both for them and from them. For starters, wealth representing a lifetime of your hard work and thrift can be squandered in very short order. In addition to squandering, an inheritance can quickly vanish through divorces, lawsuits and bankruptcies.
Fortunately, with proper estate planning, you can provide an inheritance that is protected for and even from your own children and grandchildren. Remember, two things you cannot choose in life are your own parents and the spouses of your children.
What is your plan to pay for long-term care, if you need it?
Have you noticed how expensive the continuum of care is? From in-home assistance to assisted living to skilled nursing the expenses can destroy savings and investments created over a lifetime of hard work.
There is a 70% risk of needing long-term care once you reach age 65. Curiously, 70% of people think they will not be among those 70% needing care (i.e., denial) and 70% of people think Medicare or Centrelink will pay for it (i.e., ignorance)! You do not want to be in that 70% who are in denial, ignorant or both.
If you will need assistance with the activities of daily living (e.g., eating, bathing, dressing, toileting), then you may want to hire a professional to take care of you instead of relying upon your children.
Fortunately, we can help you avoid disaster and replace that impersonal, state-written, one-size-fits-all estate plan with one we design together for your unique circumstances and objectives.
We will even help you coordinate the beneficiary nominations on your life insurance and superannuation plans with your estate plan to avoid unpleasant, unintended consequences.
This is not a do-it-yourself project.