While no one likes to talk about end-of-life subjects like Wills and estate planning, it should be an integral part of your financial planning to protect your family assets. Writing a Will and organising your estate can ease the difficult process for you and your loved ones after you pass on. Creating a Will and getting your affairs in order means you will ease the pressure that your family will feel in grieving your loss and it is essential that they do not feel worried about whether your financial affairs are in order; it just ensures that your loved ones will be provided for. When you have a strategy in place and you work with an expert team, you will find peace of mind when it comes to protecting your family assets. By proactively seeking support from a trusted lawyer, you can receive invaluable advice and help you make the right decisions when it comes to your financial affairs. While many websites and life insurance companies have Wills that are ‘do-it-yourself,’ having a lawyer look over your documents is critical to ensure nothing is missed or overlooked. Here are some of our strategies you can consider when you are looking to protect your family assets.
Estate Planning Strategies to Protect Your Family Assets
Start with wealth management
Look at your wealth management overall to start formulating a plan for your estate. Once you understand what your goals are for your retirement and outline provisions for later years, you will likely set goals and make appropriate changes. Managing wealth can involve many areas that need legal input. This can include protecting your family assets and dealing with trusts and companies. A specialist and experienced lawyer can identify and address critical issues and risks.
Consider using a Transition to Retirement pension
For many, a gradual transition to retirement may suit them better than a sudden and complete stop to working. Fortunately, the Australian government has developed a program that can benefit pre-retirees who choose to do this. The ‘Transition to Retirement’ pension can be used to protect your assets or to cut back on your working hours. Using this pension may help you improve your overall tax payable. An expert can advise you on whether this pension is right for your circumstance.
Protect your assets and reduce risk
Life is unpredictable so you will need a plan to help protect your family assets and reduce your risk of undoing your hard work. While it is difficult to predict what the future holds, a lawyer can help you safeguard your income and assets. You can ensure your assets are well-protected if you or your partner have appropriate structures in place. A legal professional can help you steer clear of common mistakes when it comes to asset protection. They can help you consider if your investments and retirement savings can help reduce your risk and help you live out your retirement goals.
Conduct succession planning if you own a business
If you have a business, you will need to consider that one day you will leave. Whether you own a small business or a large business, you will one day retire or become less involved in your business. Leaving your business can impact your family and beneficiaries. A business succession plan involves documenting who your successor will be, outlining any risks, and how finances might work during and after the transition. A knowledgeable lawyer will help you address any legal issues that can affect your assets and what you might leave to your family. The right lawyer will outline your options to help you decide what the best decision is.
Minimise your tax burden
With a sound estate planning tax strategy, you can minimise this burden on your beneficiaries. Setting up a trust is one strategy to protect your own assets. Trusts can help protect your assets during bankruptcy or divorce and can support your children with disabilities. Costs and estate plans can vary between different people. Seeking legal advice is essential for getting personalised advice when it comes to your estate plan. A lawyer can help you understand how capital losses and family debt may impact taxation.
Get the right level of insurance
Consumers are certainly spoiled with so many options and choices when it comes to insurance. However, it can be difficult to know if you are maximising your insurance policy. Some policies may lead to large fees and reduce your wealth and leave you unprotected. Rather than seeking to over-insure, seek out the policies that can directly benefit you and your family.
Consider a self-managed super fund
Many people consider a self-managed super fund to be a simple strategy for tax management, giving them more control over investments and improving risk management. SMSFs can also come with their drawbacks including higher running costs and large responsibilities to remain compliant. A legal professional considers the whole picture when it comes to super. A lawyer can ensure that you have up-to-date advice when it comes to your super fund and makes sure your super is aligned with your succession and estate plan.
Structure your investments to pay for your own aged care fees
With many Australians living longer, age care can become a consideration in your estate planning. Increasing age care costs can include accommodation, daily care fees, means-tested fees, and any additional services. To protect your family assets from unnecessarily incurring these fees, you should seek advice around structuring your investments to cover aged care costs.
Update your Will
Life is uncertain and change is constant. During your life, there will be times when your family’s assets, liabilities, and goals can change. It is crucial, to ensure that your Will is updated and reviewed regularly with a legal expert. Only a lawyer can point out potential problems that can lead to higher risk, inefficient taxation, and other issues.
Seek ongoing support
A common mistake of estate planning is creating an estate plan and then never updating it or seeking advice as your situation changes. Not only can families increase or change, but regulations and laws can change as well. This is why seeking the advice of an expert is so essential to your estate planning. By regularly updating your strategy, legal documents, and wealth management, you and your family can have peace of mind to protect your assets.
Contact Le Brun and Associates for estate planning and asset protection
Many will employ the services of a financial planner to seek ongoing support throughout their life, but a lawyer is also necessary to ensure that your asset protection strategy is legally sound and effective. Our experienced lawyers at Le Brun and Associates can help you with strategies to protect your family assets. We will take the time to understand you and your family’s circumstances and goals prior to advising you. Contact us for a complimentary 30-minute consultation to find out how we can help you today.