Draw up plan to avoid traps

MOST people want their assets to go to their family when they die but there are traps for the unwary that can be expensive and cause extra stress and hassles for your family when you are gone.

Estate planning is arranging your affairs now so your wishes are met when you die. Following simple steps and knowing the rules can help avoid many traps:

  • Have a current will: Dying intestate - or without a will - means state laws decide who gets your money. And there may be delays and disputes.
  • Choose your executor with care: The executor will gather together all your assets when you die, pay off any debts and distribute assets to your beneficiaries. You should appoint someone you trust, who is knowledgeable, has the time to act for you and will be around when you have gone.
  • Superannuation is separate: Fund trustees usually decide how your money is distributed. You can tell them what you want by making a binding nomination.
  • Think about your children: Income payments from an estate are taxed concessionally when paid to children. A testamentary trust can ensure both your minor and adult children receive income tax effectively.
  • Remember Centrelink: If you leave assets to your spouse, you may accidentally cut off their age pension if they are over the single person's assets test limit.
  • GTC Financial will hold two free estate planning seminars: For individuals on Tuesday, October 30; and for businesses on Wednesday, October 31. Specialist in estate planning and succession law Kate McQueeney, of Cooper Grace Ward lawyers, will be speaker. RSVP to GTC Financial on 4972 5177 or

Emma Brooke is a financial planner at GTC Financial, Gladstone.

Topics:  estate planning

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