by Chad Nean
Why are we discussing estate planning again? There are a number of current issues that frequently bring this topic up.
- COVID-19 – this is a reality check for many people and has given rise to uncertainty as to the effects on family and assets
- Rising property prices, the share market and general wealth
- The current demographic impact from intergenerational wealth transfer
- Increasing marital breakdowns.
The above issues have seen many people start to think about securing their families’ futures and wanting to have an understanding of the options available to them to help achieve this.
Understanding The Options
In some instances a simple will, an enduring power of attorney and enduring guardianship may be sufficient. However, this is not always the case.
Generally speaking, people for whom it’s important to consider more involved estate plan include:
- People with wealth over $2m
- People with minor children
- Blended families
- People involved in small business
- People with a potential inheritance entitlement.
My role as the accountant and advisor in this process is varied and includes:
- Helping to build client awareness and understanding of the options available
- Providing information and options, and initiating discussions in this area
- Helping to identify the estate and the plans/outcomes that the client wishes to achieve
- Helping identify potential estate-related issues, tax effects and other impacts
- Engaging a team of solicitors that we have in this space to implement the outcomes required and legalise the client’s requirements.
A simple example of raising client awareness of the options regards the use and understanding of a testamentary trust. When I discuss the basics of this with clients, the importance, especially in today’s unpredictable environment, can be easily understood.
In summary, a testamentary trust is a discretionary trust that is established in a will. It allows certain nominated beneficiaries to receive the distributions of the trust for any given time. A testamentary trust is designed to create flexibility and to be tax effective. Further advantages can include control, asset protection (through relationships, solvency and children) and taxation benefits.
How We Can Help
If you would like to talk to us about your estate planning options, please contact Chad Nean using the form below or on 02 4969 6600 and we can arrange a complimentary initial discussion with you.