Wiggles One Day, Will Drafting the Next - 3 Simple Steps to Protect your Young Family's Future
One thing the co-founders of Shaw & Bunner Legal have in common is that they have young families. Your priorities shift when you welcome children and it is important to ensure that you have taken steps to protect your family in circumstances where the worst was to happen.
A good starting point is to consider taking the steps below:-
ONE - HAVE AN UP-TO-DATE & VALID WILL
A Will is a legal document that clearly sets out your wishes for the distribution of your assets after your death. Having a clear, legally valid and up-to-date Will is the best way to help ensure that your assets are protected and distributed according to your wishes.
If you die without a Will no-one knows who you wanted as your beneficiaries, or who you wanted as your Executor (the person or organisation you nominate to administer your estate upon your death). Your assets will be distributed according to a set formula with certain relatives receiving a defined percentage of your assets, despite what you may have wished.
Your Will should be reviewed upon key events in your life, including marriage or welcoming a child.
If you do have children under the age of 18 years, it is important to consider who you would want to care for your children as Guardian in the event that both you and your partner passed away. You can nominate who you wish to be appointed as Guardian/s in your Will. It is also an important decision as to who you would appoint as the Executor of your estate in terms of managing any monies held on Trust for your children. You can also nominate the preservation age at which you would want your children to inherit.
TWO - REVIEW YOUR BINDING DEATH NOMINATION WITH YOUR SUPER FUND
One of the largest assets outside of the family home that a person can have is their superannuation, particularly if someone has spent many years working. Did you know that in Australia your superannuation fund does not actually form part of your estate and is therefore not subject to the terms of your Will?
You nominate your beneficiaries through a Binding Death Benefit Nomination form with your superannuation fund. If you do not have a binding nomination, the Trustees of the super fund can use their discretion to determine who the payment will be made to.
It is therefore essential that you have your Binding Death Benefit Nomination in place and up to date. Some superannuation funds require you to update this every 3 years so it is worth checking with your fund.
Generally the process is as simple as filling out a quick form. Jump online and go to the webpage of your superannuation fund – many funds have these forms readily available on their website.
THREE - CONSIDER A POWER OF ATTORNEY AND ENDURING GUARDIANSHIP DOCUMENT
For further peace of mind, we would also recommend getting your Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardian documents in place. In combination with your Will, these documents will provide complete peace of mind.
A Power of Attorney allows you to appoint an attorney to look after your legal and financial affairs on your behalf. You can appoint an attorney to act for you in a variety of circumstances such as an extended interstate or overseas trip, or for a time when you are no longer able to manage your own affairs. You can also consider an Enduring Power of Attorney which will continue to operate even if you should loose mental capacity.
An Enduring Guardian document considers what will happen if you find yourselves unable to make lifestyle and medical decision due to illness or accident. An Enduring Guardian is someone you appoint to make lifestyle, health and medical decisions for you when you are not capable of doing this for yourself. They may make decisions such as where you live, what services are provided to you at home and what medical treatment you receive.
HOW SHAW & BUNNER LEGAL CAN HELP?
Life is busy - we get that. We want to make the estate planning process easy for you. We can accommodate your schedule and utilise phone, email and Skype to alleviate the necessity for you to attend the office. Moreover, our use of technology means we can assist no matter where you live in New South Wales.
We offer helpful and competitively priced package deals when grouping documents. We can also offer more specialised estate planning advice, for example if you are considering a testamentary family trust will.
Get in contact and we can help you kick-start the process. Once you have your documents in order, peace of mind ensues.