There is never an easy time to consider the possibility of your own death, or the death of the ones we love. Today, almost every adult in the country has some assets to pass on after they die – even if it is only the balance in their superannuation account.
Most Australians will have considerable assets when their home, superannuation, insurance and other assets are taken into account. Failure to make appropriate plans is essential for the comfort and wellbeing of surviving relatives.
Taking the following steps will help your family if you die or become incapacitated.
Complete a Will
People often note that since they don’t have a lot of money, they don’t need a will. This is completely untrue. A will does a lot more than distribute your wealth. It determines important issues like where your assets will go and guardianship for your children. In the unfortunate case that a husband and wife might die simultaneously, the court will need to assign the guardianship of your children. If you have made arrangements via a will, you can be sure the people you select will lovingly raise your children. In your will you can also put financial stipulations in place for inheritances to your family and children. This includes dictating what they should receive and when they should receive those assets.
Take control of your super benefit
Make sure your super fund trustees are aware of your preferred beneficiaries. Alternatively, give them a binding death benefit nomination which directs them to pay your dependents or your estate. That way your super will be dealt with the way you want it to be.
Consider life insurance
Life insurance policies are important because they provide many options for debt repayment, income replacement and estate planning for your family. Without a life insurance policy, your death could spell financial disaster for your family and could have a large impact on their financial future.
Create a financial power of attorney
A financial power of attorney is a legal document that appoints one or more people to make financial and legal decisions for you. Unlike a general power of attorney, it continues to be legal even if you are unable to make these decisions yourself. This means that someone you choose can take control of your financial and legal affairs if you ever lose capacity.
Cover funeral expenses
Funerals can be expensive and no one wants to burden their family with financial worries at such a difficult time. You may want to look into creating a funeral plan, getting funeral insurance or investing in funeral bonds to ensure your family does not suffer from any unnecessary financial burdens.
Protect your business
If you're the sole owner of a business or own a business with others you should have a succession plan or a buy-sell agreement in case something should happen to you or your colleagues.
Store your documents
It’s important to store all your important information in a place where your family or financial power of attorney can access it. Ensure all the documentation is up to date and compiled so they can administer your affairs according to your wishes. Make sure you tell someone where this information is kept.
If something were to happen to you there may be questions about your care, medical history, your finances or a health insurance claim. Without your consent, your family or caregiver may not be able to get needed information. You can give your permission in advance to Medicare, your credit card company, your bank or your doctor. This is as simple as notifying them in writing or signing a form.
Estate planning is a necessity for all of us. We can assist you to minimize the stress on your family and to make sure your wishes are followed. Call our office to discuss your circumstances today. By taking the time now, you will have peace of mind knowing that you and your family’s financial affairs have been taken care of.