What is estate planning, and do I need it?
Estate planning is the process of making end-of-life arrangements and preparing important documents to make sure your wishes are carried out exactly as you want them.
Having important estate planning documents in place can provide peace of mind to you and your loved ones.
Documents can include:
- Your Will
- A Testamentary Trust (as part of your Will). Assets are transferred to a trust instead of directly to beneficiaries.
- Superannuation Binding Nomination (who receives your superannuation benefit)
- Statement of Wishes. This is a document that goes with your Will but is not legally binding. It can include such things as funeral arrangements, confidential information such as bank account details and more detailed information about the distribution of your assets.
An estate plan can also include how you want to be cared for – medically and financially if you can no longer make your own decisions. This part of the plan can include:
- Enduring Power of Attorney
- Enduring Power of Guardianship (giving someone the right to make decisions on your behalf)
- Advance Health Directive (your needs, values, and preferences for your future care)
The documents you choose to include in your estate plan will depend on your circumstances and who you feel comfortable leaving instructions to.
You must be mentally competent when you draw up your estate plan, and over 18 years of age.
Estate planning can be confusing and complicated, so always get legal advice if needed. Any documents should also be reviewed on a regular basis as your circumstances change.