What is estate planning?
Estate planning involves managing the transition of wealth between generations. Estate planning helps to ensure that your property will go to the people you want it to go to, in the way you want it to, at the times you want it to. It may allow for substantial savings when dealing with taxes and legal fees and it helps your family and friends avoid the burden of the bureaucracy that may occur after the death of a loved one.
What is a Will?
Your Will is a legal document that directs how your estate assets are to be distributed amongst your nominated beneficiaries. You are required to nominate an Executor in your Will. The Executor has the duty of carrying out your wishes in your Will and is granted power to administer the estate. Here are four key issues to consider when establishing/reviewing a Will.
- Who should you appoint as your beneficiaries?
- What assets do you want your beneficiaries to receive?
- Who should you appoint as your executor?
- Should you establish a testamentary trust?
What is a Power of Attorney?
Granting a Power of Attorney means that you legally appoint a person or organisation to make decisions, sign documents and act on your behalf in various matters. A Power of Attorney generally ceases when you suffer a loss of mental capacity. This can be overcome by using an Enduring Power of Attorney which does not cease upon loss of mental capacity. An Enduring Power of Guardianship provides the power to make personal and lifestyle decisions for you should you lose mental capacity. It is important to note different states have different ways of dealing with medical and lifestyle decisions for a person mentally incapacitated.
Granting a Power of Attorney means you legally appoint a person, or organisation, to make decisions, sign documents and generally act on your behalf in various financial matters, such as:
- collecting dividends, interest, rent and other sources of income
- buying and selling assets
- paying your accounts, and
- preparing your tax return.
A Power of Attorney can be limited to a specific event, such as the sale of a property, or can be set up to cover a particular period.
Looking to develop an Estate Plan? Contact us, our initial meeting is complimentary.
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