Essential tips for effective estate planning

Estate planning serves as a critical process for managing and arranging personal assets and wealth during one’s lifetime, ensuring their proper distribution upon death.

Despite its importance, a significant percentage of Australians, estimated at 34%, do not have a will, often attributing this to the perception of not having enough valuable assets or simply not prioritising it. This underlines a vital need for awareness and action in securing financial futures and safeguarding legacies through meticulous estate planning, which goes beyond just drafting a Will and encompasses managing family trusts, powers of attorney, and tackling the tax implications for beneficiaries.

Understanding Estate Planning

Understanding estate planning is crucial for ensuring that your assets are managed and distributed according to your wishes after your death. The process involves several key components:

  • Wills and Executors: A will is a legal document that outlines how you want your assets distributed upon your death and appoints an executor to manage this process. Without a will, known as dying intestate, your assets are distributed according to state or territory laws, which may not align with your wishes.
  • Powers of Attorney and Advanced Care Directives: These documents allow you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf should you become unable to do so. This includes managing your finances, health care decisions, and living arrangements.
  • Trusts and Superannuation: Estate planning also encompasses setting up trusts, such as testamentary trusts, to protect assets and potentially minimise tax implications. Additionally, it involves making binding nominations for your superannuation benefits to ensure they are passed on to your chosen beneficiaries.

By engaging with estate planning professionals, you can navigate the complexities of legal and tax considerations, ensuring your estate plan is comprehensive and tailored to your specific needs and goals.

Choosing the Right Estate Planning Professionals

Choosing the right estate planning professionals is a critical step in ensuring that your estate plan is both effective and aligned with your wishes. Here are key considerations and options available:

Professional Executor Services:

  • Benefits: Offers impartiality, legal expertise, and reduced liability. It brings efficiency, cost benefits, and reduced stress for family members.
  • Providers: Safewill is noted for its affordable professional executor services, handling both administrative and legal matters, thereby reducing the burden on family members.

Financial Advisers:

  • Finding a Licensed Adviser: The Financial Advisers Register is a valuable tool for locating a licensed financial adviser near you. The Financial Services Guide (FSG) provides essential information about their services, fees, and commissions.
  • Selection Criteria: Consider qualifications, main client base, specialty areas, fees, money management strategies, meeting frequency, information provided, decision-making process, investment management, commissions, absence policies, complaint handling, and terms for ending the agreement.
  • Robo-Advice: While automated financial advice, or robo-advice, is an option, it may have limitations compared to personalised advice.

Estate Planning Services: KMT Partners offer comprehensive estate planning services, helping to secure a valuable legacy for loved ones and ensuring assets are distributed according to one’s wishes.

Regularly Reviewing and Updating Your Estate Plan

Regularly reviewing and updating your estate plan is not just recommended; it’s essential for ensuring that your wishes are accurately reflected as your life circumstances evolve. Here’s a streamlined approach to maintaining the relevance and effectiveness of your estate plan:

Review Schedule:

  • Every Two Years: Conduct a general review to catch any minor changes or adjustments needed.
  • Every Five Years: Perform a comprehensive review, examining all aspects of your estate plan.
  • Trigger Events: Immediate review is necessary after significant life events such as marriage, divorce, birth of a child, or the death of a loved one.

Key Elements to Review:

  • Legal Documents: Wills, Powers-of-Attorney, and Advance Care Directives.
  • Financial Instruments: Superannuation, insurance policies, and trusts.
  • Personal Changes: Updates in guardians, trustees, personal representatives, or changes in asset valuations.

Seeking Professional Advice:

  • Legal Review: Ensure your estate plan aligns with current laws and personal wishes. Consider consulting a legal professional for a thorough review.
  • Financial Implications: Understand the impact of any changes on your financial situation and tax obligations. A financial adviser can provide insights into optimising your estate plan.

By adhering to this structured review process, you can ensure that your estate plan remains a true reflection of your wishes, safeguarding your legacy and providing peace of mind for you and your loved ones

To ensure your estate planning aligns with your current circumstances and future aspirations, regular reviews and updates are crucial. Seeking professional guidance can simplify this process, providing clarity and confidence in your estate planning decisions. For detailed assistance in tailoring your estate plan to your unique situation, contact KMT advisers. By taking proactive steps today, you can ensure that your estate is managed efficiently, your loved ones are cared for, and your legacy is preserved according to your wishes.

About our adviser: Michael Fox is our Managing Director at KMT Partners. He has been dedicated to the success of his clients, devising comprehensive wealth strategies for both personal and business growth for over 4 decades. With extensive expertise in business governance and family business succession, Michael specialises in empowering emerging businesses and family enterprises by fostering renewal, enhancing value and smooth transitions to the next generation. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you need assistance.


What are the key steps to take in the estate planning process?

When planning your estate, it’s important to follow these seven steps:

  1. Compile a list of your assets.
  2. Consider the needs of your family after your passing.
  3. Choose your beneficiaries.
  4. Make decisions on the division of your estate.
  5. Safeguard your estate planning documents.
  6. Review and update your estate plan periodically.
  7. Consult with a reputable estate planning attorney for guidance.

What are the critical documents needed for estate planning?

A thorough estate plan should include the following four key documents:

  1. A financial power of attorney.
  2. An advance care directive.
  3. A living trust or a last will.

This is general advice only and does not take into account your financial circumstances, needs and objectives. The article should not be relied upon as specific information or advice without obtaining appropriate professional advice after a detailed examination of your particular situation from a qualified KMT adviser.