Your Will is a legal document that sets out directions for the administration and disposal of your assets after death.
While most people are familiar with the concept of a Will, many are surprised to learn that a Will cannot automatically control the distribution of their interests in companies, trusts and other structures.
This is because a Will can only distribute the assets that you owned in your personal name on the date of your death.
Assets that you may think you own, such as those held in privately held companies, trusts or super funds, do not actually form part of your estate, and as such, it is important to understand how the assets held in these structures will be handled when you die.
For this reason, having an effective estate plan – a plan that not only includes the preparation of a Will but considers how assets will be handled in such structures – is a crucial component of your future planning.
The first step in this process is understanding how assets in these structures are controlled.
- Jointly-owned assets are assets that are held in joint names. A common asset may be the family home. On death, jointly-owned assets pass by the laws of survivorship directly to the surviving holders.
- Privately held company assets are held by the company, and governed by the company’s constitution.
- Trust and superannuation assets are held by the trustee of the trust/super fund, and are governed by its trust deed.
How can you ensure non-personal assets are dealt with according to your wishes?
While a Will cannot directly control how assets held in these structures are dealt with after your death, you can take measures during your lifetime to ensure that:
- assets held in these structures are provided directly to a beneficiary according to your wishes (where possible), or
- assets are directed to your estate, so they can be dealt with via your Will (where possible), or alternatively
- any interest you have in the structure is passed to your beneficiary.
It doesn’t stop there
The above examples are just a few measures that can be put in place during your lifetime to ensure your assets – including your interests in structures such as privately held companies, trusts and super funds – are directed according to your wishes upon your death. But more examples do exist – such as what happens to the running of a business or trading company on your death?
For these reasons it’s important to consult with your OBT financial planner on 5462 2277 to ensure you have an adequate estate plan in place.
Rodney Turner and OBT Financial Group are Authorised Representatives of Lonsdale Financial Group Ltd ABN 76 006 637 225 | AFSL 246934.
This is general advice only and does not take into account your financial circumstances, needs and objectives. Before making any decision based on this document, you should assess your own circumstances or seek advice from a financial planner and seek tax advice from a registered tax agent. Information is current at the date of issue and may change. This information and certain references, where indicated, are taken from sources believed to be accurate and correct. To the extent permitted by the Law, Lonsdale, its representatives, officers and employees accept no liability for any person that relies upon the information contained herein. Information is current at the date of issue and may change.