As we welcome 2024, it's an important time to prioritise your estate planning and family wealth protection. Making these resolutions now can provide you with a sense of achievement and relief from the weight of uncertainty. Here are the top ten resolutions you should start on immediately to ensure your family's future is secure.
1. Create or Update Your Will
Your will is the cornerstone of your estate plan. If you don't have one, make it a priority to create a will this year. If you already have one, review it to ensure it reflects your current wishes and circumstances. Life changes such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child should be reflected in your will. If it does not have a testamentary trust as part of the Will it will not protect your family wealth and that of your beneficiaries.
2. Establish an Enduring Power of Attorney
An Enduring Power of Attorney allows you to designate someone to manage your affairs if you become unable to do so. This is crucial not just for the elderly but for anyone at any age, as unexpected incapacitation can happen to anyone.
3. Review Your Beneficiaries
Ensure that your life insurance, superannuation, and other financial products have the correct beneficiaries listed. Over time, your relationships and preferences might change, so it’s essential to keep these up-to-date.
4. Create a Living Family Wealth Protection Trust
A living trust can help your family avoid the lengthy and expensive probate process. It also allows you greater control over how your assets are distributed to your heirs.
5. Organise Your Digital Assets
As our lives become increasingly digital, don't forget to include digital assets like social media accounts, digital currencies, and online banking accounts in your estate plan. With the right lawyers or advisers these are best enshrined within your Will as part of it or as a schedule to it.
6. Plan for Your Business's Future
If you own a business, it's crucial to have a succession plan in place. This ensures that your business continues to operate smoothly without you, providing for your family and employees. This is absolutely crucial if you are the sole director or sole shareholder of the company.
7. Secure a Life Insurance Policy
Life insurance provides your family with financial security in the event of your untimely death. If you already have a policy, review it to ensure it's adequate for your family's needs.
8. Understand Your Tax Implications
Estate taxes can take a significant chunk out of your assets. Understand how these taxes work and implement strategies to minimise their impact.
9. Establish a Healthcare Directive
A healthcare directive and a living will ensure your medical wishes are honoured if you're unable to communicate them yourself.
10. Speak with a Professional
Estate planning can be complex. Consult with a professional like Abbott and Mourly Lawyers to ensure your plans are legally sound and reflect your wishes.
The Final Word
Embarking on these ten resolutions will not only protect your family's wealth but will also give you peace of mind knowing that you're prepared for whatever the future may hold. Start 2024 off right by ensuring that your estate plan is in order. Remember, estate planning isn't just for the wealthy or the elderly; it's for anyone who wants to protect their loved ones and ensure their wishes are honoured. Don't let another year pass without getting these essential tasks off your shoulders. Your family's future depends on it.