Our Estate Planning service takes a holistic approach to your Estate Planning needs. We can administer the process to put everything you need in place making the process as easy and quick as possible.
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Estate planning is important for everybody.
Talking about what will happen to your estate when you pass isn't very pleasant, however, it is an important conversation and is the starting point of some of the most important legal documents you will ever prepare.
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is the process of anticipating and arranging, during a person's life, for the management and disposal of that person's estate during the person's life and/or after death. Estate planning includes planning for incapacity as well as a process of reducing or eliminating uncertainties over the administration of a probate and maximizing the value of the estate by reducing taxes and other expenses. The ultimate goal of estate planning can be determined by the specific goals of the client, and may be as simple or complex as the client's needs dictate. Guardians are often designated for minor children and beneficiaries in incapacity.
Why is Estate Planning important?
Firstly, it allows you to protect and take care of your loved ones after you pass. It is a protection to ensure that your wishes are carried out in the way you intend and that those who you want to end up as benificeries of your estate, receive that which you intend to give them.
Secondly; if you have children, estate planning will allow you to make decisions about the ongoing care of those children should you be taken from them.
Thirdly; proper estate planning can stop your family falling into a mess once you are gone. Many families have fallen apart in arguments about estates that have not been banned and directed clearly.
What are some common objections?
Here's a countdown of our top ten
10. I’ve given my relatives instructions on what I want done
Such instructions are not binding and result in delay, confusion and additional expense in administering your Estate. If you pass away without leaving a valid Will in place, your wishes including the control of your Estate, the beneficiaries of your Estate and who will look after your children cannot be followed. This leaves your family to sort out these issues and may lead to conflict between them and not see your wishes realised.
9. I have a Will, I did it when I first got married
All Wills need to be reviewed. Circumstances change, children are born, assets are bought and sold and relationships change. An old Will may be valid but wholly inadequate. For example, it may not makeprovision for all of your children as they weren’t all born when you made your Will. Your Will may havenamed your parents as executors which is no longer appropriate as they are elderly and not in a position to act as executor. Wills should be reviewed at least every three years to determine their validity and applicability. Having an old Will may be as effective as having no Will at all, or worse, could result in your estate not being dealt with in accordance with your intentions, or result in the Will being contested by disappointed beneficiaries.
8. I have no family so it doesn't matter if I have no Will
Regardless of whether you have any immediate family, your affairs must be dealt with by someone and your assets will be disposed of to someone. Under the Succession Act, the end recipient in the event that you have no family or next of kin will be a payment to the Government. Most people have friends or a particular charity that they would rather see benefit from their estate. Further, a Will will make the process easier for whoever is left to pick up the pieces after you have gone.
7. My spouse gets everything anyway
This line of thought presupposes that you will predecease your spouse. What happens if your spouse dies first or at the same time as you? In that circumstance, what happens to your children? Who will know your wishes regarding the upbringing and welfare of your children? Another issue with this line of thought is that assets which aren't jointly owned will not necessarily go to your spouse. The Succession Act determines who gets your assets on your death. If you have children then your spouse is not entitled to all of your assets as they must be divided between your spouse and children.
6. Wills are too expensive
The cost of preparing a Will is generally far cheaper than paying solicitors fees to determine who can administer and who will benefit from your estate, and then apply to the Court for a grant of administration following your death. The cost of a Will is a small price to pay to ensure that your personal effects go to those persons who you want to receive them, and to ensure that your estate is administered in an efficient and timely manner without financial burden to your family. The price for a Will generally doesn't vary due to the size of a person’s estate. Wills become more expensive with the complexity of a person's affairs.
5. My estate is too small to justify a Will
No estate is too small to not justify the preparation of a Will. If you don’t have a Will your Executorneeds to apply to the Court for a grant of administration, before they can deal with any of your assets. This application alone can run into thousands of dollars. So the cost of getting a grant of administration may be greater than the balance of the bank account leaving any expense that cannot be paid from your assets, to be paid for by your family. Having a Will generally alleviates the need to apply to a Court for a grant of Probate for small estates and so relieves your family of this emotional and financial burden.
4. I am too young and death is years away
Unfortunately death comes to us all and there is no way of knowing when our time has come. Like anything in life, successful outcomes require thoughtful planning and the administration of your estate following your death is no different. An estate plan is about creating a financial plan for your life. It allows for the distribution of your estate in accordance with your wishes in a timely and cost effective manner. Whilst everyone has different attitudes towards death, preparation of an estate plan need not focus on your death but rather what benefits you can provide for your friends and family when the inevitable happens.
3. I can do it myself
Of course you can prepare a Will yourself or use a post office will kit to assist you for next to no fee. What a will kit doesn’t provide you with is advice and guidance on your legal obligations under theSuccession Act and whom you have an obligation to provide for from your estate. Nor does it give any direction about the impact certain decisions will have on your family and loved ones, or ensure that the documentation you complete will be valid and enforceable.
2. It will bring up emotional issues that I don’t want to deal with
Estate planning inevitably leads to the consideration of personal relationships. A Will can constitute a publication of our feelings towards those that we know. This can evoke negative emotions such as anger, guilt, remorse or regret. Unresolved issues between family members and spouses can be difficult to broach and although your lawyer and financial planner are not counselors they do have personal knowledge of your circumstances and the issues involved and may be able to provide objective views on these issues. Also be mindful that a Will is not etched in stone, and as circumstances change, and relationships and issues change, amendments to your Will can, and should, be undertaken.
1. My affairs are too complex and it's just too hard
The problem isn't that your affairs are too complex but rather the delivery of a solution seems too difficult. What you need are answers from someone who can deliver an outcome and walk you through the process. Taking comfort in the knowledge that you are dealing with professionals who can provide you with the answers that you are looking for and show you the simplicity of the process should be adequate encouragement for you to move forward with your estate planning and the preparation of your Will and other estate planning documents.
What can BGN Financial Management do to help?
At BGN Financial Management we can project manage your estate planning. From mapping out your wishes to having our aligned lawyers prepare documents for you we offer and end to end service across all aspects of estate planning.
Contact us today for a discussion of your needs. It may be the most important decision you ever make.