Plan ahead in 2015

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Business - Troy MacMil­lan on Troy.MacMil­

Q: My hus­band and I have writ­ten a Will – but I’ve heard th­ese can of­ten be chal­lenged. What else should we con­sider in terms of es­tate plan­ning? Beth and Peter – Dalkeith A: The new year is a great time to get your es­tate af­fairs in or­der.

Es­tate plan­ning is some­thing that many peo­ple think only the wealthy need to worry about.

The truth is that even those with mod­est means will still pass some­thing on to their chil­dren or other ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

With­out a plan, con­flict and con­fu­sion can eas­ily es­ca­late after death, leav­ing those you care most about with po­ten­tially dif­fi­cult and di­vi­sive is­sues to han­dle.

A proper es­tate plan can help avoid what could be­come a night­mare for those left be­hind.

While a Will is a vi­tal com­po­nent in your es­tate plan­ning, it is by no means a com­plete so­lu­tion.

There can be many com­plex­i­ties that a Will alone can­not solve. The more com­plex your per­sonal and fi­nan­cial af­fairs are, the more im­por­tant it is to have a de­tailed es­tate plan – es­pe­cially for your ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

A thor­ough es­tate plan will ad­dress many is­sues, in­clud­ing fam­ily re­la­tion­ships and what hap­pens if they change in the fu­ture, loans made to fam­ily mem­bers be­fore death, business suc­ces­sion or sale is­sues, care for de­pen­dents, smooth trans­fer of own­er­ship of as­sets and more.

When cre­at­ing a plan, one of the key el­e­ments that I rec­om­mend in the plan­ning process is the in­volve­ment of your fam­ily in di­rect dis­cus­sions.

This en­ables anal­y­sis and di­ag­no­sis of es­tate is­sues so that your plan is rel­e­vant, fair and ef­fi­cient for those it is ul­ti­mately in­tended to ben­e­fit.

Your ad­viser and solic­i­tor to­gether can fa­cil­i­tate this dis­cus­sion to make sure this fam­ily in­volve­ment is han­dled care­fully and sen­si­tively to en­sure a fo­cused re­sult is de­liv­ered.

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