Contact: Michael James
I have a habit of categorising my world views into ‘Top five’ lists. Top five films, top five books, top five road trips, top five ways of (theoretically) legitimately avoiding yoga on a Saturday morning. In keeping with the theme, I bring you my ‘Top five’ approach to the area of estate planning and estate administration.
1. The ‘control your destiny’ factor
Alright, that sounds wildly dramatic and technically it’s controlling the destiny of your estate, but essentially a Will is about the power of choice. Choosing who you gift your assets to, the people you trust to be your executors, and the people you choose to look after your kids if both parents have passed away. Unless those choices are articulated in your Will, they are either never known, or they don’t have a binding effect.
2. The provision factor
No doubt you have some loved ones in your life that you want to ensure are looked after when you are gone. You may have a spouse or partner, kids, a grandchild or niece you have taken permanently under your wing, or all of the above. A Will is one of a number of invaluable tools you have to make sure you provide for the important people in your life.
3. The certainty factor
I can’t overstate the reassurance having a Will gives both you and your loved ones. I can say that, just reflecting on the ‘before’ and ‘after’ of my life from saying ‘she’ll be right’ to getting a Will. It wasn’t just having the signed document, but also assessing where I am at financially and having confidence around what is in my asset pool and how those assets can be divided up. I have the certainty of knowing who is being provided for when I die and I know I’ve chosen the right people to implement my wishes.
4. The moolah factor
I won’t beat around the bush; the cost of a Will isn’t necessarily cheap. It can take time to work with you to achieve your wishes whilst addressing your personal circumstances, the possible risks to your estate, and a number of possible future outcomes. However, it’s important to weigh up the cost of investing in some solid estate planning now verses the potential financial and emotional costs for your family of not having a Will. From a purely financial perspective, there are additional hoops to jump through for the Court to appoint an administrator of your estate, there are the costs of any dispute between potential administrators regarding who should be appointed, and working through to intestacy rules to figure out who is entitled to a share of your estate, and how much of a share, and how much that share is worth…and so on… It can get infinitely messier than that; I’ve just named a few factors. Those costs eat into the amount available to be distributed amongst your beneficiaries. It sounds clichéd, but my view is; spend now to save later.
5. The crystal ball factor
Not to go all dark and twisty, but thinking ‘I’m still young…in the prime of my life…there’s plenty of time to worry about that stuff’ may well be true but no one is invincible and unless you have a crystal ball in good working order, you can’t predict when your time will come. The risk of “later” is it transforms into “too late”.
For further information please contact Michael James on (02) 61635050.