Estate Planning: Securing Your Legacy

In life, we often joke about “Spending the Kids Inheritance” (SKI), but the reality is that our financial legacy extends beyond our own enjoyment. What happens to our assets after we’re gone matters, and having a will is key to ensuring your wishes are honoured.

Why a Will…Peace of Mind!

Did you know that almost 60% of adult Australians have made a will which leaves 40% of Aussies who don’t have a will. Even those who do may find their wills outdated or legally inadequate. Without a valid will, your assets may be distributed according to legal formulas, leaving you with no control over who receives what. Imagine your hard-earned savings intended for your dream vacation being allocated to estranged relatives or even an ex-partner due to outdated legal documents. Having a valid will in place not only ensures your assets go where you want but also spares your loved ones from potential legal battles.

The Importance of Estate Planning Beyond a Will

However, estate planning involves more than just drafting a will. Considerations such as superannuation assets and powers of attorney are equally important. Reviewing your estate plan regularly is crucial, as laws and personal circumstances evolve over time. While a will provides peace of mind knowing your wishes will be carried out, it also offers reassurance to your loved ones during difficult times.

5 Tips for Having the Right Conversations

#1: Identify potential hotspots

Take the time to identify potential areas of concern or contention within your estate plan. Consider factors such as unequal distributions among beneficiaries, specific bequests, or arrangements to protect certain heirs. Consulting with your legal advisor can help you navigate these potential hotspots and develop strategies for addressing them proactively.

#2: Develop a game plan

Decide on the approach you’ll take to have these discussions with your family members. Determine whether individual or group meetings would be more appropriate and consider who should be included in these conversations. Establish clear goals and objectives for the discussion and create an agenda and talking points to guide the conversation. Selecting a neutral venue and enlisting the support of a trusted advisor can help facilitate a productive dialogue.

#3: Communicate effectively

When discussing your estate plan with your loved ones, communicate openly and honestly about your decisions and the reasoning behind them. Provide context for any unequal distributions or specific bequests and share the values and principles that guided your choices. Encourage questions and feedback from family members and be receptive to their concerns and perspectives.

#4: Foster peace and understanding

Maintain a calm and respectful demeanour throughout the conversation, recognising that discussions about estate planning can be emotionally charged. Keep the focus on the topic at hand and avoid getting sidetracked by unrelated family issues. Emphasise the importance of maintaining family harmony and highlight the significance of relationships over material possessions. Remain firm in your decisions while also demonstrating empathy and understanding towards differing viewpoints.

#5: Follow up and finalise

After the initial discussion, follow up with your loved ones to ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding your estate plan. Provide a summary of the key decisions and agreements reached during the conversation and address any outstanding questions or concerns. Consider drafting a formal document outlining your estate plan and distributing copies to relevant parties for review. By following up and finalising these important conversations, you can ensure clarity and consensus among family members and provide peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones.

By following these essential steps, you can navigate important conversations about your will with confidence, ensuring peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones. Don’t leave your legacy to chance—consult the team at JBS Financial to ensure your estate plan is comprehensive and up to date.

Reach out to us today for guidance and support in securing your financial future and providing peace of mind for you and your loved ones here and download our tip sheet here.