Estate Planning Essentials

By Mei Wu

Estate planning is an important process that many people avoid. There are many reasons for avoidance, including these notions:

  • The process is difficult
  • It is unpleasant to talk about death
  • Your spouse and children will just inherit what you own
  • Estate planning is only for the wealthy
  • It is too early to start planning your estate
  • You still have plenty of time to write your will

However, what happens if you pass away unexpectedly? How do you know if your assets will be distributed according to your wishes? What if you are a small business client or currently have several tax structures in place?

Many seek off-the-shelf will kits as they are cost effective, but experts caution against them as many of these wills end up in litigation.

Extra care must be taken especially in relation to the distribution of assets such as the superannuation fund assets, business assets or trust assets. These do not go against an individual’s will. In a trust, you need to refer to the trust structure and documents to determine who governs the trust once you have passed away.

In my experience, a good estate plan is a joint effort between an accountant, financial planner (if you have one) and lawyer, because accountants cannot give legal advice and lawyers cannot give tax advice.

Therefore, if you require service in this area, EQ8 has good relationships with legal practitioners who specialise in this space. If you require your will to be reviewed as your circumstances have changed, feel free to contact your partner or manager representative at EQ8.