How does COVID-19 affect estate planning?
What is the state of your estate plan?
As COVID-19 restrictions ease throughout Australia, an inevitable surge in positive cases has ensued. Tragically, the number of deaths has also increased.
The situation presents stark evidence as to why it is important to have a legal will and estate plan in place. By doing so, you formalise the management of your affairs in the event of your death or should you become incapable of making your own decisions.
For example, did you know that without a will or estate plan, your estate may be decided by government legislation rather than your own desires? This is especially relevant given COVID-19 and how quickly the pandemic places lives at risk.
It is also worth remembering that having a valid will is only one part of the process. A full and proper estate plan not only recognises and respects your will, but it will manage the distribution of other benefits, including those linked to superannuation and family trusts.
Again, the best way to avoid potential issues around your estate is to engage highest quality legal representation. Based on the Gold Coast, Ballantyne Law Group’s estate planning experts help clients locally, regionally and nationally.
And with the pandemic in mind, we have included a few tips to further illustrate the value of a full and proper estate plan.
4 top tips for estate planning during COVID-19
1 Binding nominations
Many Australians will depend on superannuation to fund their retirement years and provide for loved ones after death. But were you aware that super is not necessarily part of your estate when you die? All the more reason to consider making a binding nomination, which compels a trustee to follow your directions regarding distribution of your super benefits. Pandemic or no pandemic, that’s good advice.
2 Power of attorney
Appointing an enduring power of attorney is an important part of estate planning. However, in these uncertain times, it is also a good idea to have an interim arrangement. That way, should COVID-19 – through illness, death or travel restrictions – prevent your nominated person from fulfilling their role, you will have an alternative plan in place.
3 Share and share alike
You need only consider soaring house prices to be reminded how markedly asset values can change. This also applies to your estate and can affect the ultimate value of monies and gifts to your beneficiaries. If you want them to receive an equal share, dividing your estate by percentages will ensure proportional consistency.
4 Prepare and review
Last but not least, no one can predict what is going to happen in our lives. After all, who had even heard of COVID-19 two years ago? So, while it is important to have a proper will and estate plan, it is also important to review it from time to time. Circumstances change, and so can your estate plan.
At Ballantyne Law Group, our estate planning services go beyond drawing up and securing your estate plan. We also maintain contact with you to make sure you are happy with your estate planning or wish to make amendments. With our industry-leading experience and expertise, your estate plan is always up to date and as you wish.