Benjamin Franklin wrote: ‘In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes’. Like many others my age and stage, I have definitely complained about taxes, but have very openly avoided discussing the other inevitable factor in Franklin’s quote.
After the birth of my first child and at the start of my F-Empowered journey, I realised that I was not as financially fit as I should be. How could I preach the importance of preparing for the inevitable without myself being well prepared?
Later, with two kids in tow, this feeling become one of irresponsibility. I had to do something to ensure that our biggest assets are well looked after when we die.
Enter the estate plan
It’s so much more than a will!
An estate plan is the act of preparing for the transfer of a person’s wealth and assets in the event of his or her illness, mental incapacity, financial incapacity or death.
An estate plan outlines your wishes that you’d like your loved ones (and lawyer) to act upon if any of the above situations were to arise.
A good estate plan has three aims:
- to give you control, via a set of instructions, of your most important assets (including your kids) if you fall ill or die
- to try avoid your next of kin suffering financially
- to minimise any family arguments about who gets what
Unfortunately, 60% of Australians die without a valid will, and of those who have one, only half have a full estate plan in place.
You can obtain an estate plan by engaging with an estate planning specialist or lawyer who will go through all the things you need to consider and agree upon. The plan can then be reviewed whenever you encounter major life changes (more debt, more kids, different relationships, etc).
My experience talking with an estate planner involved many a ‘God forbid’ and plenty of wood knocking—but with it coming together, I give a big sigh of relief.
Written by Irit Harris. Irit is founder of F-Empowered, a platform to empower women to make decisions about how to manage their money.
Aside from being an infinite learner (over ten years in banking, MBA, Diploma of Finance, accreditation to give general advice on banking and insurance products), Irit is a mum to two beautiful kids, wife to the incredibly supportive Josh, and lover of travel, yoga and jogging.