If you have assets controlled by you but not in held in your name, then you need more than a Will to ensure any transfer upon your death is managed in a tax effective way. This is what we call Estate Planning.
Over your lifetime you will likely build up a range of assets and wealth that upon your death, will need to be distributed in accordance with you wishes, and this is done through your Estate Plan.
Estate planning is not just about having a Will, it’s about ensuring that the assets you control, transfer to your intended beneficiaries in a tax effective manner. You Will only looks after assets in your personal name. Your Estate Plan will plan for assets that are in entities controlled by you, such as through companies and trusts and importantly, your superannuation.
As accountants and business advisors, we are in a unique position to understand where all your assets are held and who ultimately controls those entities. It is also important to understand how debts and liabilities are to be dealt with as some debts may be paid off, while others may transfer to your beneficiaries.
For businesses owners’, part of your estate planning should ensure that you have a Buy/Sell Agreement in place with the other shareholders in the business and Buy/Sell insurance. Why is this important? Some beneficiaries will not want to be involved in the business and wish to cash out of the investment as soon as practicable. Without this in place the business may need to be sold to pay the estate.
This also means that any surviving shareholders will have an increased shareholding and will assist in avoiding having an unplanned shareholder involved in the running of the business.
A practical and beneficial Estate Plan is a collaboration between you, your accountant, and your solicitor.
SW is co-hosting a three-part webinar series on Estate Planning and Power of Attorneys with Burke & Associates Lawyers. Join us to learn more about how Estate Planning can assist you.