With us well into the New Year and and with easing of COVID restrictions, now its a good time to start think about Estate Planning. With more Australians owning more assets, its important to ensure that your assets are protected.
What is Estate Planning?
Estate Planning can be as simple as just organising a will. Further Estate Planning (beyond a will) may include preparing a plan to manage and transfer your wealth, make provisions for your loved ones, preparation of a powers of attorney, certain health directives and tax implications/considerations for yourself and beneficiaries.
Below is a summary of the key documents that might be used during estate planning:
- Will – is a legal document that expresses your wishes as to how your property is to be dealt with after your death.
- Power of attorney – is a legal a document that lets you appoint someone to make decisions about personal, medical and financial matters if and when you are unable to make decisions.
- Testamentary trust – is a type of trust that is usually created by a will and comes into existence after you die. It can assist in controlling how your assets are managed for your beneficiaries once you pass.
Im not old or wealthy enough to consider Estate Planning!
Regardless of your current personal circumstances Estate Planning (which might include a will, power of attorney or forming a testamentary trust) is important to consider at any age. By being proactive about Estate Planning, it will provide you with comfort, certainty and security knowing that if anything were to happen, your loved ones are cared for in accordance with your wishes.
Tax considerations that may arise from a Deceased Estate
You don’t naturally associate deceased estates with tax considerations but below are some things that may need to be actioned:-
- Preparing and finalising tax returns for the deceased person;
- Obtaining a TFN and lodging trust tax return/s for the deceased estate;
- The sale or transfer of certain assets may incur capital gains tax (CGT);
- Superannuation death benefits may be taxable where its paid to a non-dependant of the deceased;
- Dealing with assets in complex structures like trusts or companies can cause unintended CGT consequences; and
- State based taxes such as land tax and stamp duty where property is transferred and an exemption/concession does not apply.
If some of the tax considerations are not properly addressed or advised upon, they can lead to large tax bills for your beneficiaries, which is probably the last thing you want to do to them.
It’s important to remember that Estate Planning ensures your loved ones are well protected. It should be tailored to suit your wishes. Rockwell Bates has experience in assisting and preparing tailored Estate and Tax Planning for clients, including preparing wills and managing deceased estates.