Why do we neglect estate planning?

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Were you surprised as I was to discover that Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, hadn’t done her due diligence with estate planning? Reportedly, her estate is valued at $80 million US dollars and although she left four sons, there was no will or estate plan.

In Australia, the net worth of the average couple over 55 currently exceeds $1 million dollars. While there’s very few of us who have amassed the same fortune as Aretha, estate planning is something everyone should consider.

People put off estate planning as they believe they don’t own enough. Estate planning extends beyond property assets to everything you own – cars, savings, superannuation, cash from any businesses, life insurance and personal possessions.

Why is estate planning so important?

  • You decide who gets what: Anyone who has money and a reasonable level of assets should consider one as it is a way of maximising assets to others. People don’t like to think about their mortality, but by putting something in place now, there’s always the option to change it later.

  • Your plan will give clear instructions to your family about what you’d like to see happen to your estate and assets after you die. This is particularly important in today’s society where divorce and blended families are so common.

  • It can reduce taxes: An estate plan will ensure wealth after death is distributed as intended, while minimising external influences and costs such as stamp duty, capital gains tax and other expenses. It means that your children or next of kin won’t lose out financially. With basic planning, people can reduce taxes associated with any estate.

  • Peace of mind: A good estate plan will mean that you’ll be secure in the knowledge that your family is protected when you’re gone. When you die, you don’t want your family to be dealing with your loss and also worrying about your finances. The best time to write one up is while you are still capable of making strategic decisions for yourself. Think carefully about what you have and how your beneficiaries will cope with any inheritance.

I can help you navigate the complexities of planning and distributing your estate. While the idea of estate planning may seem a little strange as it won’t come into effect in your lifetime, it will have direct benefits for those you love and leave behind.