A couple of nights ago Peter Cramer and I hosted an Estate Planning seminar for our clients. The fantastic thing we are now able to do with these client presentations is provide access to our clients who cannot attend via a webinar service. Clients can dial in at home over the internet to listen in to these seminars and the popularity of this method is increasing with each session we do.

The feedback we received both on the night and since has been fantastic and has created significant follow up discussions and no doubt planning work with clients.

One of the main objectives initially on the night was confirming what exactly is included in your Estate and therefore governed by your Will instructions when you die! Many people (as well as many professionals) still do not realise that items such as assets owned by a Trust, any property owned as “joint tenants” and superannuation assets are not included in your Estate.

Also, one of the most overlooked items that is not taken into account when preparing a Will is loans (sometimes called current accounts) to or from a Trust. In many cases these loans can be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Sometimes the documentation you currently have in place may not provide you with the result you thought it would.

The majority of the night was spent looking at how, both now and in the future:

  1. significant tax savings can be achieved;
  2. assets can be protected;
  3. certainty can be achieved;
  4. the right people can be in control of your affairs when you die or lose the capacity to make decisions.

We also talked about the effective use of Testamentary Trusts and the Superannuation legislation.

Overall, Peter & I thought it was a fantastic night with plenty of questions from those who attended. Most of those who did attend commented that they will be reviewing their situation.

Estate Planning is not an exact science, nor is it a process you can go through once in your lifetime and think no further changes will ever be necessary. One solution does not fit all cases. What you have in place for your Estate and beneficiaries should be based on your own values and attitudes and can hopefully provide a fantastic combination of savings, protection, certainty and flexibility.



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