EFFECTIVE ESTATE PLANNING
Estate planning focuses on effectively passing the wealth of a family group to spouses, children, grandchildren and other beneficiaries. While this is often a very sensitive subject to raise, we find that it is extremely important to plan well in advance, how an estate is to be divided.
With many years of experience, Marin Accountants has developed an effective approach to estate planning. Whether dealing with a family group of substantial wealth and complex entity structure or small business owners, we approach estate planning in a systematic manner.
- Firstly we identify all the assets in the group and where these assets sit i.e. trust, superfund, company, or in individual’s name.
- We prepare a group flowchart that outlines all the entities in the group including individual family members, corporate or individual trustee’s details, estimated market value of assets in the group, beneficiaries of trusts and members of the superfund.
- The next step is to brief a lawyer that specialises in estate planning to draft the necessary estate planning instruments such as: a will, statements of wishes, financial and medical power of attorney.
We can either work with a client’s preferred lawyer or introduce a specialist lawyer from our professional network, liaising with the lawyer to provide the necessary background information such as:
- copies of financial statements
- trust deeds
- company constitutions
- death benefit nominations
- details of any pension income streams.
We find that when it comes to their spouses, children and grandchildren, clients would generally like to be as equitable as possible. However, every family dynamic is different and a lot of consideration should be given to what assets are bequeathed to various beneficiaries. It is also important to consider the potential tax consequences of disposing of different assets in the group. It is often deemed that beneficiaries be entitled to the same slice of the estate in terms of assets passed on to them, but should the potential capital gain tax or GST liability not be taken into account, the unintended consequence might be that one of the children or grandchildren is left with a smaller slice of the estate.
Another level of complexity in Estate Planning is that a will does not cover assets that are owned by trusts, self-managed superannuation funds or companies in a group. It is extremely important that consideration is given to which beneficiaries obtain control of these entities. Marin Accountants can guide clients on the potential implications of closing some of the old companies and trusts and dealing with any potential tax consequences during their lifetime.
We encourage our clients to regularly review their wills as personal circumstances change. Changes in family composition, changes in assets and entity structure and tax law changes impact on how up to date a will is. Our philosophy is that a will should be reviewed every 5 years or when a significant change in family dynamic occurs.
Marin Accountants experienced advisors can guide you to ensure the best outcomes for you and your beneficiaries. Contact us today so we can talk about your situation and start planning.