The Estate planning process is essential for family wealth protection. It is intended to ensure that the distribution of your assets is straightforward, not delayed by dispute or unnecessary court processes. The estate planning process can also ensure that your family’s inheritance is protected from creditors and from unnecessary taxes and duties.
Steps in the Estate Planning Process:
- Writing a Will
- Getting your Financial Affairs in Order
Ideally these first two steps should be interchangeable. You should have your financial affairs in order before you draft your will. On the other hand – if you don’t have a will, and you have dependents or family members you wish to pass you assets on to on your death, or in the event of your incapacity, time is of the essence. Anything can happen at any time, as much as we like to think it won’t. But having your financial affairs in order will help you draft a watertight and comprehensive will the first time out.
Getting your financial affairs in order:
This is the most important part of the estate planning process. You need to ensure that:
- You have debt protection (insurance) to cover any outstanding debts you may still have at the time of your death.
- Your tax affairs are above board and up to date. Don’t leave your beneficiaries with a mess to sort out!
- All records related to your investments and assets (properties, bank accounts, business interests etc.) are up to date, with up to date copies in the hands of an estate executor team.
- Processes (and the team who will execute them) are in place to keep your financial affairs straightforward in the event of changes in legislation.
- Similarly – for updates to and your estate when your personal circumstances or financial portfolio change, or for the creation of a Family Trust.
- You have financial planning expertise: investment management to maximise income and minimise risk (including reducing the amount of tax payable as much as possible).
Estate planning process – updates:
A crucial part of the estate planning process involves annual or event-related updates for your will and estate management goals. These can include the sale of assets and the addition of family members.
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