The San Francisco Chronicle recently featured "5 Estate Planning Tips" in their Business News section, which was excerpted from Investopedia US. It reported that a properly and carefully prepared estate plan, regardless of the size of the estate, will ensure that the right parties will inherit your assets. Even if you already have an estate plan in place, you'll find these five tips helpful as you review your wills. These are:
Declare Who Gets What - the laws that govern your domicile determines who inherits your assets if you fail to prepare a will
Choose How It Should be Spent - create a trust that stipulates the allocation of assets to cover specific expenses that the trustee is legally bound to oblige
Minimise Estate and Income Taxes - use tax-efficient strategies to minimise the taxes your beneficiaries will owe when they inherit your assets
Offset Taxes with Insurance - once the estate and income tax is estimated, purchase a life insurance plan that corresponds to the estimated amount and put the affected party as the beneficiary so they can use the insurance proceeds to pay off the taxes
Work with an Estate Planning Team - seek the assistance of experts, such as an attorney, tax professional, and financial advisor, to help you design wills and trusts that meet the state requirements and are customised for your beneficiaries
What is Estate Planning?
Is more than just planning the recipients of your assets. A good estate plan means retaining control of your assets and assigning someone to make decisions on your behalf, when you are incapable to do so in the future. In the document, "Understanding Estate Planning", published in November 2009 by GWM Adviser Services Limited, Sydney, it stated that it's important "to have a considered and comprehensive plan to ensure that all assets are transferred according to your wishes in the most effective and efficient manner".
In estate planning, you have four goals in mind: communicate your wishes, protect your beneficiaries, reduce taxes, and protect your business. But what makes estate planning a complex process is it's a continuous process because life is constantly changing; you either gain more or lose some assets, you may change beneficiaries, etc. That's why you need the help of an expert who is knowledgeable in this field. To help you get started, here is a checklist of the issues you need to assess and discuss with your advisor:
Is your will up-to-date and valid?
o Who will be your beneficiaries?
o How will your estate be divided among them?
o Do you want to give something to charity?
Do you have a life insurance?
Are you setting up a trust?
o Who will be your trustees?
How will tax affect your assets?
Do you need to implement a binding death benefit nomination for your superannuation?
Does your business have a succession plan in place?
Who did you choose as executor?
Ostrava Offers Estate Planning Assistance
Ostrava's asset management and superannuation services can help you set up, administer and execute investment strategies for your funds, including estate planning for your Self Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF). They have a team of financial management specialists who can provide a personal one-on-one tailored service for your needs.