January 2019 | Jonathan Harris
Estate planning is something most of us put off “until next year” – it’s just too difficult. We promise it’s not! Sure, it can involve some difficult decisions, but that’s because it is one of the most important plans of your life and you should think hard about it.
Consider that an estate plan isn’t so much for your own benefit but rather for the benefit and protection of your loved ones. Would you keep them waiting?
Making an estate plan involves decisions such as:
- What property is mine to give away?
- Who do I want to manage my estate on my death?
- Who do I wish to provide for from my estate?
- How is it best for me to provide for that person?
- Is it likely that someone will make a claim against my estate? How can I best prevent a claim from being successful?
- Do I hold any powers of control? Who will exercise them on my death or loss of mental capacity?
These aren’t easy questions. Harris Freidman will help you to find the answers and advise you on the variety of ways you can provide for loved ones and protect their inheritance.
Even if you already have an estate plan in place, it is important that you reconsider these questions every few years or if your circumstances or the circumstances of your beneficiaries change. It might be time to update your plan.
Once you have decided how you would like to structure your estate plan, Harris Freidman will do the work to implement it. This will include preparing your Will and can often include additional documents that deal with testamentary trusts established under your will and existing family trusts that change the way you currently own assets.
In addition, we recommend that you have an Enduring Power of Attorney and Appointment of Enduring Guardian. These documents appoint people to make decisions in relation to your property and your personal care and welfare in the case that you lose the mental capacity to make those decisions yourself.
It is important to implement an estate plan as without one, you die “intestate”. That is, legislation will determine who benefits from your estate and it is not always who you intend. Your beneficiaries also miss out on benefiting from any estate planning tool you might have chosen specifically for them such as a testamentary trust or a life tenancy.
Of course, we are not saying you won’t have the opportunity to do your estate plan next year, but with the New Year just started, why not make this a resolution? Your loved ones will thank you for it (in time).