As part of my Estate Planning with clients I check their documents, not because my clients aren’t highly educated people, but because so often what they are told and what is actually happening are different.
I often hear one of two things:
1. I have sorted out my superannuation
1. I am not allowed to declare a beneficiary under my superannuation
Can I tell you this is often wrong, and I mean the vast majority of the time when I am told one of these things I find out it is wrong. If you are right, well, great. If you are wrong then I have potentially saved everyone a lot of trouble.
Twice this week I have checked a client’s superannuation situation and found that what they were told by the superannuation company is not accurate. In the first scenario the client was told that they could not do a binding death benefit nomination because they didn’t have a spouse or child, and so it had to be left to the Trustee of the superannuation company to decide. When I checked they were quite clearly entitled (due to the Deed associated with their product) to leave it to their ‘Personal Legal Representative’ which means it would be funneled through their Will. Now there are tax consequences for this, but it was not an option that my client was aware of. This person had been lead to believe that their entitlements might simply be forfeited unless she had a spouse or child. I have heard these instructions from a number of different clients and so I am confident that people are being told this.
The second scenario related to clients who said they thought they had sorted out their binding death benefit nomination, and yet when I checked the documents from the accountant I discovered that they had made a non binding nomination. I had this happen to another client a couple of months ago.
These matters can make a big difference to your Estate, and are a good example of why I am always saying that Estate Planning is more than simply doing a Will. It is a bit cumbersome but I do a financial audit with my clients for good reason, no one likes finding all their paperwork and yet it is important to check all the assets and debts properly.
If you are interested in talking about your Estate Plan then please give me a call on 0421 887 571 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org