Don’t Fear that Preparing a Will is Tempting Fate
Death and taxes are a certainty, so make a Will.
Preparing a Will is not an open invitation for a Grim Reaper to pay you a visit in the next few weeks!
There are more then a few if us who have put off preparing our final instructions simply because there’s a sense that in doing so we’re tempting fate.
About 50% of Aussies die without a Will.
It’s amazing how many are completed just before flying off on an overseas trip or when we’re going under the knife, no matter how minor the procedure might be.
A more compelling reason might be to talk to someone who’s been left to sort out the mess of a person who dies without a valid Will. Known as dying intestate, it means the person concerned will face uncertainty, unnecessary delays and more than likely expenses that ultimately eat into the pool available to the deceased loved ones. It may also see an allocation of funds according to a prescribe formula which might not be what you intended.
Equally as important, for those with more than a few crackers, a properly constructed Will, taking advantage of some little-known tax tweaks, can see you distributing thousands per annum to your grandkids virtually tax free and even if they’re under 18.
There’s a great deal of confusion over what’s actually dealt with by a Will.
Let’s start with assets held in joint names. That normally includes the family home, bank accounts and in some cases shares. In almost every case, death sees the asset pass in totality to the living partner.
Depending on the asset concerned, transfer to the surviving partner can be as simple as producing the original or a certified copy of the death certificate.
In some cases, you may have to go through a more formal identification process to protect against identity theft.
Equally, most people don’t realise that superannuation funds don’t automatically form part of the estate. In technical terms, it means that proceeds of your superannuation won’t be dealt with by the Will. In this case the super fund is legally obliged to make provision for your dependents who may or may no be the people listed in your Will.
There are many a grieving family who have seen superannuation proceeds distributed to others who have already been provided for elsewhere. Many also forget that a modest superannuation fund can swell into thousands of dollars when life insurance proceeds are added and dealt with under the same rules.
It highlights the importance of filling in those annoying forms that arrive each year with the annual super statement.
If you don’t have a Will or your Will needs updating, contact Optima Partners, we have a network of professionals that can assist you.
Director – OPTIMA PARTNERS
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