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11 May 2022

Estate Planning in Australia: A Quick Beginner’s Guide


Estate planning involves planning how you would like your affairs handled after you’ve passed and deciding how your assets should be distributed.

Estate planning could include organising a Will, a Testamentary Trust, a Power of Attorney, details about life insurance, superannuation or death benefit nominations and a plan to minimise the taxes on your estate so that your beneficiaries are not left with an unfair amount of taxes to pay.

If you are looking into your estate planning, this article will share a guide on how you can get started.

What is an Estate Plan?

An estate plan involves making arrangements for your assets and affairs in the event of your death – or if you get to a point in life where you are no longer capable of making your own decisions. 

By having an estate plan in place, your loved ones will be best prepared to carry out your wishes. An estate plan strategy will ensure transfer, control and ownership of your ‘estate’ is managed in a timely and tax-efficient manner, which can help relieve stress on your loved ones during an emotional time.

What is involved in estate planning?

Before you start estate planning, have a chat with your friends, your parents, your spouse, your children and your siblings. Let them know what you would like your estate plan to look like, and let them know why you think it is important to have an estate plan.

You may want to discuss funeral instructions, your Will and plans for transferring your assets. 

To ensure your plans can be carried out efficiently and effectively, you may want to include the following legal documents within your estate plan:

  • Advance Care Directive
  • Enduring Powers of Guardianship
  • Power of Attorney
  • Testamentary Trusts

It’s important to seek expert advice to help you prepare each legal document you wish to include in your plan. You may want to seek a certified financial planner, who can help guide you through the entire financial estate planning process and build a solution that matches all your needs and wants. 

A Step-by-Step Plan to Begin the Estate Planning process

1 – List down your assets and liabilities

It’s important to list down every single asset that belongs to you. This includes your superannuation, investments, any shares, any property you own, your car, and anything that you think may be worth something.

2 – Protect yourself and your family members

Now that you have an accurate list of your assets and liabilities, you can then start thinking about who you would like to inherit your assets and how you would like your estate distributed. 

The important thing to remember is you must follow the correct legal processes for your plan to be carried out legally and efficiently. Once you have this information, you may want to draft a Will or a Testamentary Trust.

3 – Appoint an Executor

Once you have drafted your Will or Testamentary Trust with an expert, the next thing you can consider is to appoint an Executor. The Executor will be responsible for making sure your Will or Testamentary Trust is carried out. It is important to choose someone that you can trust, and someone that you know will respect your wishes as well as your family’s wishes.

4 – Review your beneficiaries

Review your beneficiary designations to ensure that you have your accounts and investment accounts set up in a way that reflects your estate planning. Remember, if you want your wishes to be carried out, it’s important to have your accounts set up in line with what you have stated in your estate plan.

5 – Regularly Review Your Plan and Update When Needed

It is important to review your plan and make sure that it stays up-to-date. You should make changes to your estate plan if you have either:

  • entered into a marriage or de facto relationship,
  • have children born or adopted post-dating your estate plan,
  • or have had a significant change in your assets or liabilities.

Do you need a Financial Planner when Creating an Estate Plan?

A financial planner can help you make sure your assets go to the right people at the right time. In addition, a financial adviser from Hyland Financial Planning can help you structure your plan for financial outcomes that align with your goals. 

If you need financial advice and assistance with estate planning in Hornsby, come to Hyland Financial Planning.

If you want your assets and your loved ones protected when you no longer can do it, you will need an estate plan. Without one, your family could face huge tax burdens and the courts could decide how your assets are divided, or even who gets your children. Don’t let this happen and plan for the worst. We are here to help make the uncomfortable conversation stress-free and as comfortable as possible.

Contact us and get tailored advice today!

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