3 things to consider when estate planning

17/09/2014

When it comes to your finances, estate planning is one of the most important tasks you'll ever carry out. You want to make sure your family will be well-taken care of when you're gone, and organising a will is one of the most effective ways to do that.

Yet, in such a complex task, it can be easy to miss out crucial details that could have negative ramifications for your family's financial well-being down the line. To help you out, here's a list of things to take into consideration whenever you sit down to plan your estate.

Update it frequently

Your will is not chiselled out into a block of cement. It's a flexible document, and as your financial and familial situation changes it's important to keep it relevant.

If your assets increase or decrease, for example, you'll need to adjust the will. Same goes for your relationships. If you've had any changes with those listed in the will - such as a new marriage, divorce or acquired new family members - you'll need to take this into account.

Name an enduring power of attorney

There are a variety of reasons why you might suddenly lose the ability to manage your financial affairs:

  • you might be developing, or have developed, Alzheimer's or dementia
  • you have fallen into a coma
  • you have suffered some type of accident that has left you mentally disabled

These are not nice things to think about, but estate planning is about preparing for the worst. Name someone reliable, a trusted family member for instance, to act on your behalf in case this happens.

What is my family situation like?

Most families are not the simple nuclear family of a wife, husband, two kids and a dog. Throughout the course of a lifetime, a person's family situation can change in a variety of ways. If you've been divorced, remarried, have a blended family or children who, because of illness or disability, require particular care, then it's important to take extra care when deciding how your will be laid out.

Seeking the advice of a wealth accountant can be helpful in this.