Even the best wealth creation strategies can be ruined if they’re not supported by a back-up plan. Building your financial strategy without adequate protection is like building a house without laying foundations.
It makes no sense to build wealth and not protect it. Don’t be the person who thinks it’ll never happen to them. If you died or were unable to work who would:
- pay the mortgage or rent for your family
- support your family
- support you?
There are several different ways of protecting your money, and the strategy you need depends on where you are in your life. You might want to protect your income, your ability to earn, or the nest egg you’ve built up, and ensure that your affairs are in order should the worst happen.
how to safeguard your future
Your insurance needs will change as your life circumstances change, so you should review your cover at least annually. For example, through your life you’ll gather assets and liabilities and may have dependants, so your need for insurance will increase. As you get older you’ll accumulate more assets, pay off liabilities and your children will leave home, so the types and amounts of insurance you need will likely decrease.
If you’re not adequately protected then a significant event such as ill-health, injury or death can mean that emotionally traumatic times for your family are compounded by financial strain. Conversely, if you happen to be over-insured you could be paying premiums for no end benefit. Ownership of your insurance (eg maybe by your superannuation fund) is an important consideration too.
It’s crucial to make sure that your finances are managed correctly should you die unexpectedly. This will minimise strain on your family by reducing any possible complications and red tape surrounding your money and your wishes after your death. All family situations have particular circumstances that require a customised and comprehensive estate plan.
Estate planning seeks to ensure that your estate is passed on to your intended beneficiaries in a timely and tax-efficient way. The choices you make can have significant implications for the tax that your beneficiaries will pay on your assets, as well as how and when distributions can be made. It can also be important to consider the affect on Centrelink benefits of your intended beneficiaries.
A Will ensures that on your death, your wishes are carried out. This can include not only passing of assets but also care of children. Everyone should have a written Will, even if only as a safeguard against the unknown. The reality is that when someone dies, squabbles among family members over the estate are not uncommon and can be extremely costly. A Will can help to avoid these sorts of disputes.
For a Will to be effective it must be valid at the time of your death and you must have an estate to pass on. To ensure your Will remains relevant and continues to reflect your wishes, you should review it at least once every three years or when there is a major change in your circumstances. For example, a marriage may revoke a previous Will and a divorce may also invalidate aspects of your Will.
A Will may be challenged if:
- there is doubt over the mental capacity of the person making the Will
- the language is ambiguous
- it deliberately disinherits a spouse or child or someone else who could have expected support from the Will maker
- you die without a Will then you die ‘intestate’ which means that a family member will have to apply to the court to be appointed to look after your affairs. State laws which govern intestacy may result in an unequal or unintended distribution of your estate.
You should also make sure that your finances will be correctly managed in the event of your incapacity. By appointing someone to act for you under a power of attorney, you ensure that a trusted person will oversee your finances according to your wishes. It is also possible to document your wishes in respect of care and support of children and also in some states the extent of medical care and treatment that you would want to receive should you become ill or incapacitated.