Typically, estate planning is a relatively straightforward process. For most individuals having a Will, Power of Attorney, and Superannuation Beneficiary Nomination is quite enough. While it’s a great first step to have all of these measures in place, it only tells half the story when it comes time for your Executor to administer your estate. For example, do they know where to locate the Will, are they aware you have a Financial Adviser who can assist and do they know you have prepaid funeral arrangements in place? In most cases a Will is broadly worded with a provision that allocates “everything to my partner, then to the kids”. This is good, but not necessarily sufficient. How is an Executor to know of “everything” you own and where it is located? Can you be sure that nothing gets lost or left behind?
It’s easy to assume that everything will work out just fine, often times it does, but we have seen multiple cases in which assets have been forgotten about and not discovered until years later. In one example, we had one client who thought he was familiar with his mother’s finances and was able to promptly and efficiently administer her estate. That was until a number of years later when he was looking through old records and found a life insurance policy. We investigated and found he was able to claim a significant life insurance benefit. If it were not for this chance discovery, he and the other beneficiaries would have forgone the sizable sum of money they were entitled to.
We can only imagine how many times assets have gone entirely undiscovered or an estate process is dragged out longer than it needs to be because an Executor must piece everything together.
It is for this very reason that we encourage clients to make a comprehensive record of their personal details ranging from the location of legal documents, a list of income and assets, and things you might not readily think of like instructions to close social media accounts or where to find money hidden in the walls!
The ‘My Estate Planning Profile’
Here at Muirfield we’ve developed a simple estate planning document with important details about your estate, your relationships and who your loved ones can contact for support. You can find a copy of this document here: My Estate Planning Profile. Once completed, this form can be given to your Executor and other loved ones to ensure they are fully across your estate plans.
It is often valuable for your Financial Adviser to have a copy of this document as it will allow us to support your loved ones with decision making on your investments. You can return your document to our office directly, or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope this estate document can provide you some comfort in making the process of administering your estate as easy as possible for your loved ones. It should also ensure none of the assets you’ve worked hard to build go to waste.