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Your life’s work is worth a little more work to safeguard your future and the future of those you care about

Seven of every ten wills in Australia that are contested in court are successfully overturned.  That’s a sobering number. And it means if you think your final wishes are set in concrete, you may have to think again.

With Australians working and living longer, and Government’s seemingly set on forever tweaking the rules that govern superannuation, Estate Planning has never been more important – and for those managing their own super (SMSF), it’s perhaps even more crucial.

The good news is that getting the help you need is no more than a click or phone call away.

 

The devil really is in the detail

So, how can you ensure that your estate is distributed in the manner you intend? There are a few golden rules to follow, perhaps the simplest of them is this one: get the right advice.

That means talking to your accountant, financial advisor, solicitor, or ideally, all three. In this way, you can identify your objectives, agree the actions you wish to take and get the details of your final wishes recorded accurately and expressed in a legally binding way.

There’s no candy coating it, Estate Planning can be complex, so it helps to get your objectives in place right off the bat.

Here is our list of key objectives for successful estate planning:

  • Control
  • Flexibility
  • Asset Protection
  • Tax
  • Administration

 

Change happens. Plan for it.

Whether your own circumstances change or changes are the result of new or revised government legislation, the fact remains – at any time in a 3- to 5-year cycle, your will may become outdated. For this reason, and for your peace of mind, your current will should always accurately reflect your wishes and account for any changes in government legislation.

A good example is the recent changes to the rules governing superannuation. These rules impacted by the $1.6 million transfer balance cap, which means that pensions paid out by super funds cannot always be transferred to a financial dependent. It sounds slightly awkward but essentially, death can become a ‘cashing out’ event and so may have to be dealt with by the estate as part of the will.

 

Working together…works

The key to keeping on top of SMSF Estate Planning is teamwork – every area of planning needs to work together. Your team should ideally consist of a Solicitor, Accountant and Financial Planner. Then, for a start, ‘team super’ needs to consider the following:

  • Superannuation
    • Binding death nominations
    • Updating any deed if the fund is an SMSF
  • Testamentary Trust (a trust that is created by your will) can achieve the following objectives:
    • Protection of your assets against legal claims and those arising from a split with a spouse
    • Greater tax efficiencies. One of the key advantages is that any beneficiaries under the age of 18 may be able to receive their benefits at concessional tax rates

 

Conclusion:

Your life’s work is worth a little more work to safeguard your future and the future of those you care about. The right advice can help you do just that. To get started, just go here: http://haccounting.com.au/smsf/

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About the Author

I’m a Chartered Accountant with 13+ years experience working with business owners. I previously worked at PwC for 9 years providing advice to wealthy individuals and business owners. Which involved working through complex tax and business matters.