Now is the time when we start to reflect upon those New Year Resolutions we traditionally make early each year. So what should we resolve to do? Lose weight? Exercise? Make some savings?
While thinking about the next year, why not think about plans for the rest of your life? The best thing to do is to get your affairs in order and update your estate plan. This is especially important with all that is happening at the moment:
- New & surprising laws from Parliaments and Courts around the country are changing the expectations of generations of Australians;
- Availability of new estate planning legal documents (and how they are interpreted);
- Australians are living longer than ever before, and are therefore having to fund an increasingly long retirement;
- The official retirement age has been increased to 67, and will probably go higher;
- Superannuation is now the main form of retirement saving for Australians, and every year the government changes laws and rules relating to superannuation;
- Superannuation & life insurance can have binding death-benefit nominations which can bypass your Will, but these are not well-known or understood by most people;
- New state and federal Domestic Partner legislation can mean that property rights between unmarried couples can arise in as little as 2 years.
And what about all the changes in your personal circumstances?
Deaths, births, marriages, divorces, inheritances, retirement, illnesses, and many other normal life-events are factors which can have a serious impact on your plans.
A Will in Adelaide by itself (especially if it is out-of-date) just won’t do the job you need. A legal Will is just one piece of the puzzle. Do you have a modern integrated estate plan in Adelaide?, and is it up to date? Do you know how it works, and what it is supposed to do?
Here are some tips to get you started:
Review your medical and care advance directives
- Read a copy of each of your powers of attorney and anticipatory directions.
- Make sure that the addresses and occupations for you and your attorneys’ are all still current.
- Are the people currently appointed to make health care decisions for you if you are incapacitated, still appropriate to your circumstances?
- What are your current wishes regarding your continued care if you are very ill?
- Do your attorneys really know and understand your wishes for end-of-life treatment?
Make sure your beneficiary designations are up-to-date
If you have made beneficiary designation forms for superannuation and life insurance accounts, make sure these are still appropriate to your current needs, and up to date.
Talk to your family about your personal belongings
Many personal assets have no significant financial value, but have a strong emotional connection to specific individuals. Talk about these assets with your family, so everyone understands what is expected.
- Do your children want your furnishings and personal items?
- What will happen if they all want the same two or three items?
- The value of many collections such as artworks will depend upon proof of provenance. Does your family know where you keep documentation of the purchase price and potential value of collection items?
What is peace of mind worth to you? What is the security, comfort and prosperity of your family worth to you? If you do nothing, and wait until after the disaster strikes, how much will you then have to pay to correct it (if it can even be corrected)?
You should ensure that your estate plan is always up to date and working as it should: it needs to always comply with changes in your personal circumstances, and always comply with changes to the law. You can save yourself and your loved-ones lots of time, money & grief by maintaining your Estate Plan in Adelaide, and by doing this you will likely reduce the expense of the administration of your deceased estate.