'Seek advice' with estate planning

Date: May 06, 2011

A financial adviser can help you navigate the sometimes-murky world of estate planning, particularly if you are considering a major change such as a move to an aged care facility.

Whether you are looking to make the move yourself or are helping a loved one plan a significant lifestyle change, a financial planner can help you consider the various options available to you, according to Jenny Christie of Priority One Financial Group.

She told the Daily Examiner that there are a number of important factors to consider before seeking out accommodation in an aged care facility, including what will happen to your property if you choose to move.

Ms Christie highlighted that many people want to keep their family home so they can pass it along to their loved ones.

An adviser, she pointed out, can suggest several strategies that would allow you to do exactly this.

She said: "If you wish to leave your home to your children or other loved ones, it is vital that you have an up-to-date will stating your wishes."

Having a will in place not only allows you to choose who will receive your assets and belongings after your death, but also can help to prevent family conflicts about your estate.

A well-planned will also enables you to avoid unnecessary taxes, leave charitable gifts and provide for any dependents you may have.

Important information to include in a will include assets - such as property, money, vehicles, shares and cash - as well as any specific belongings, including artworks, books, photographs and musical instruments.

A trusted lawyer with experience in estate planning can also help you ensure your affairs are in order and can also help you with a number of other legal issues, including appointing Powers of Attorney and Enduring Guardians - individuals who, respectively, look after your financial affairs and medical care on your behalf.

Lawyers can also help with simple and complex wills - which can take account of superannuation death benefit distributions, as well as a number of other specific circumstances - as well as a number of other services.

These can include lodging caveats, applying for a Grant of Probate and creating testamentary trusts that comply with current Australian tax laws.