Estate planning is not just about after you’re gone – it can reward you now
Estate planning is much more than making a will. It affects your assets and income now and in the future.
Good estate planning can deliver you benefits here and now.
Estate planning is about making sure that your estate or other assets can not only benefit you now and are protected during your life but can also best benefit your family later.
For example you can “negatively gear” against future life assurance payouts or create trusts which will fall into your estate or stay out of it, as best suits your circumstances.
Estate planning includes:
- choosing which assets will bypass the estate through joint tenancy
- whether any such joint tenancy assets are exposed to third party claims
- transfer of control and ownership of family companies and trusts
- enduring powers of attorney in case of incapacity
- disposition of life insurance benefits
- managing superannuation lump sums or reversionary pensions
- ensuring assets are protected from personal claims
- creating testamentary trusts to provide for children
- planning for overseas assets and beneficiaries
- ensuring charitable gifts bring tax benefits not tax detriments
- planning for taxes
There is no single answer. For an example, a person whose estate may face testator’s family provision claims may choose to let nothing pass through the estate.
Some people may wish to ensure that their estate is not affected by the legacy of personal claims against themselves.
Others may wish a well-endowed estate to fund a testamentary trust for surviving spouse, children and grandchildren.
A well-planned estate may mean substantial tax savings for the surviving spouse and family.
A poorly-planned estate may trigger substantial capital gains tax liabilities, as when a valuable property is left to a charity or overseas beneficiary.
A superannuation lump sum going to the “wrong” person may mean that instead of being tax-free, it is exposed to a tax of 16.5% (or, in some cases, much more). That represents a tax of $165,000 on a superannuation payout of one million – losing more than enough for a deposit on a home for a child.