The Modern Art of Estate Planning
Traditionally estate planning was simply defined as “the planning and documentation of the wishes of a person for the distribution of all assets under the control of that person following death”.
For centuries that simply meant that everyone should have an up to date Will.
Modern estate planning (a combination of art and science) involves:
- The planning, development and documentation of strategies for
- The protection of the client’s wealth against the legal claims of others;
- The tax effective distribution of the client’s wealth following death in accordance with their wishes in a way which reduces or eliminates the possibility of dispute and challenge and which takes into account the needs and circumstances of the clients beneficiaries;
- The effective transfer of control of the client’s business and investment structures and non estate assets of superannuation etc in a way which harmonizes with their overall estate wishes;
- Dealing with the potential adverse financial repercussions which may affect the client or the members of the client’s family from the premature death, loss of income or long term incapacity of the client;
- Ensuring that the client has properly executed a Will and any other legal documents which may be necessary to give effect to the client’s wishes and that the client has formally appointed other trusted persons to manage their legal, financial and lifestyle affairs during any period of the client’s incapacity;
- Regular review to ensure that all strategies are kept up to date.
The important aspect of modern estate planning is that it should deal not only with those assets owned by an individual personally but the assets that are controlled by an individual i.e. assets held in trusts and superannuation.
Modern estate planning therefore is much more than just having a simple Will!
In the view of Estate Planning Professionals of Australia Pty Ltd, modern estate planning, done properly, is a process of investigation, analysis, application of strategies, documentation and then continuous review carried out by a well trained professional adviser who has already established an effective ongoing relationship of trust with the client.