Estate planning is vital to ensure your wealth and assets are protected and your final wishes are carried out the way you intended. It delivers peace of mind that your loved ones will be taken care of, by clearly outlining how you would like your assets distributed through your last Will and Testament, or even assigning powers of attorney in the event you are incapable of acting on your own behalf. Making personal choices and taking control of your wealth today allows you to put the plans in place for the vision you see for yourself and your family in the future.
We recognise the sensitivity surrounding the subject of estate planning which is why we help clients to understand the many aspects involved and how it best suits their circumstances. Whether it is helping to put affairs in order, setting up a trust for a disabled loved one, or drafting an appropriate will, Quill has the experience to assist. Our expert guidance with each client is what is appreciated the most, with our team working with other divisions of our business to ensure you’re well looked after when tough choices need to be made.
Many have the misconception that estate planning is reserved for older people and that is simply not the case. And, whilst a plan for someone in their 30’s compared to a retiree may look different, anyone can benefit from safeguarding their future. It is actually much more important in younger individuals with young children who will need care plans documented and a detailed strategy for access to money to be prepared.
No one knows what the future holds which is why an estate plan can help even if you are not close to even considering retirement. In the event of your incapacitation or death, a plan can help establish who receives what assets and liabilities and works in addition to a will, which is more of an overview of your requests. As a ‘living document’ it can be updated as your asset list propagates and your list of beneficiaries grows, but with proper planning by the professionals, once it is established it will not be forgotten.
We know from experience that estate planning is often done in conjunction with your financial planner, which perhaps is why so many of our clients overlap services and talk between Quill divisions. Our commitment to developing a strong relationship with you means we are able to completely understand you ‘financially’ and take into account your current lifestyle needs, your business position and any future plans you’ve shared with us. We can also review contingencies for future significant events such as children, divorce or health issues.
When in consultation with you we consider all of the following:
To put together an efficient plan, our advisors will need you to assemble as much information as possible on all of your assets in order to determine your current situation. Other helpful materials include any existing legal documents, existing wills, insurance and healthcare policies; or there may be divorce decrees, premarital agreements, child support payment plans or assistance and any other relevant contracts you are subject to that need to be presented. This is the time where those skeletons need to be revealed as if the information we receive is inaccurate or incomplete, then our recommendations may not reflect your actual needs.
Another key factor that goes into estate planning is who you want to be your Power of Attorney. Who do you trust to take care of your finances? What kind of experience and knowledge would you like them to have? If you were to become incapacitated, a Power of Attorney is someone you grant permission to make decisions on your behalf. You can assign the same or different people to be your medical, legal or financial powers of attorney, but you should be confident that they will always act in your best interests.
Also on the table to consider is who will be your beneficiaries. Think about how you would like your assets to be distributed and to whom. Whilst people tend to leave most of their assets to loved ones, family or close friends; some choose to leave a portion of their estate to a charity, not-for-profit or an organisation they are passionate about, subsequently leaving a lasting legacy in their name.
An important piece in the estate planning puzzle is also your will. It is often thought that these two items are the same, but in fact they are quite different and it is important to have both prepared as part of your estate planning process. Your estate plan is in place to help divide up your assets to surviving members of your family, release any trusts and properly plan what assets will be divided and how that will occur. The purpose of your will is supposed to provide simplicity on your wishes and chosen asset distribution after you pass away, together with allocating power of attorney to one (or multiple) individuals of whom you trust.
In short, your estate plan determines the details of your wishes by listing all of your assets and debts, whereas your will defines the roles and responsibilities of those close to you.
There is no doubt that you can do estate planning without much input from an advisor, but when talking about your valuable assets and significant wealth that you’ve worked so hard to build, it is the experience and structure Quill can ensure that can minimise the risk and alleviate any murky waters in your absence.
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