Estate planning and Wills are often used interchangeably however they are two distinct areas. And writing a Will is an integral part of estate planning.

So how do you differentiate the two?

Estate Planning

The primary purpose of an estate plan is to help you examine your finances and assets to make sure your loved ones are best provided for. Your estate is not just your home – it also includes your home’s equity, your bank accounts and retirement funds, life insurance and more.

As an overview, an estate plan can include:

  • Wills
  • Trusts
  • Power of attorney
  • Beneficiary designations
  • Superannuation
  • Property transfer
  • Transfer of financial assets
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Life insurance

Who needs an estate plan?

Estate plans provide your loved ones with a plan of what you would like done when you are no longer here. This is particularly beneficial for those who;

  • have had more than one marriage.
  • own a business
  • wish to donate part of their assets to charity
  • have specific requests relating to aspects of their health and or property. are concerned that their wishes might be ignored, or your assets might be given to the wrong people.

What documents make up your estate plan?

An estate planning is comprised of a:

  • Healthcare power of attorney – allows selected agents to make medical decisions for you if you are unfit to make them yourself.
  • Durable power of attorney – allows an agent to handle your finances.
  • Advanced directive – this details your decision for ongoing life treatments.

How does a Will fit into an estate plan?

A Will is a legally binding document that details where your assets go after you are no longer here and whom you would choose to take care of your children. It only deals with assets that are part of your estate, so it does not include jointly owned assets, assets in a family trust and assets in a private company. It may not cover insurance policies and superannuation.

When deciding what to include in your Will, some things you may want to consider are:

  • Identifying your assets and which ones are included in your estate
  • Deciding on whether you want to leave specific assets to specific people
  • Deciding on whom you wish to benefit from your estate.
  • Choosing someone to be your executor.

The purpose of estate planning and Wills

Estate planning and Wills guarantee that your family and loved ones will receive peace of mind and continued care after you pass.

If you need help with estate planning, contact us! We also offer a free simple guide to estate planning that can be downloaded by clicking here.