10 Reasons You Need a New Estate Plan After Separation
Updating your estate plan is probably the last thing to cross your mind when going through a separation, however if you are on the journey to starting fresh and creating your amazing new life, then updating your estate plan is an important step to getting peace of mind.
Tara Lucke sets out 10 reasons you need a new estate plan after a relationship breakdown
Why you need a new estate plan...
Even if you don’t have a will, you DO have an estate plan. The Government gives you one!
Very rarely will this estate plan be suitable or achieve your objectives if you pass away. Take control of your new life by choosing who should receive your assets and who will be in charge of managing your affairs if you die or lose capacity.
If you have finalised your divorce, your will and power of attorney documents may have been automatically revoked, which will leave you without an estate plan (of your choice).
If you are separated but not yet divorced, it is highly likely that your ex will still qualify as a ‘spouse’ and will receive your assets under the Government back up estate plan if you pass away. How does that make you feel?
Do you want your ex to manage the money you leave to your minor children after you die? What about if your ex re-partners? Under your will, you get to decide who calls the shots about the money you leave for your children.
For instance, your will could nominate a trusted friend or family member to manage the money for your young children (even if your ex is the children’s legal guardian) so you have peace of mind that your ex isn’t spending your inheritance on children from a new relationship or influenced by a new partner.
Do you want your ex to make medical decisions for you if you lose capacity? This could definitely happen if you are separated but not divorced. How would you (and your family) feel about this? Make sure you are 100% comfortable with who has this power.
Update your super nominations (and any reversionary pension) to make sure your ex isn’t nominated to receive all your super and life insurance. For many people, this is one of their biggest assets (and it isn’t automatically covered by your will)!
If you have made an enduring power of attorney, depending on the terms, your ex could have powers to deal with your financial assets right away (i.e. RIGHT NOW!)
This is definitely a bad idea if you are in negotiations about a property settlement as your ex could be authorised to access your bank accounts, sell your assets etc. even while you have fully capacity. Your enduring power of attorney should be reviewed and renewed immediately.
Do you have a family trust? You should make sure you review the trust deed to understand what powers your ex might have, including whether they can change the trustee or take on this role after you pass away.
Now is a great time to make sure your will is utilising the power of testamentary trusts to protect the inheritance you want to leave and access tax free income for your minor children.
Lastly, you are going through some big changes now and there may be more changes in store as you continue to create your new life. During this time, it’s essential that you review your estate plan regularly (at least every year) to ensure it achieves your objectives and gives you the peace of mind that you deserve.
Hi, I’m Tara Lucke. Pleasure to meet you! I want to be upfront – because that’s how I roll. I’m not your typical lawyer. In a lot of ways. I only do estate planning, tax, asset protection, business succession, trusts and super. No disputes; No property stuff; Do not call me if you’re in an accident or in trouble! But if you want peace of mind about the protection of your wealth and its transition to the next generation, or if you need to optimise your business structure for asset protection and tax minimisation – I’m your woman!
I am all about supporting financial advisers and accountants to use estate planning to grow their business and entrench themselves as their client’s trusted adviser.
One of my favourite things is sharing my estate planning tips and tricks through video and social media and that has inspired me to launch The Art of Estate Planning – an online course for advisers who want to confidently use estate planning to build trust, give their clients peace of mind and to generate additional revenue from existing clients.
In 2014 I co-founded an online estate planning law firm and that experience made me super passionate about better ways to do the business of law; I use upfront value pricing, outsourcing, offshoring, using automation, and social media to provide quality solutions and price certainty for clients – I know none of these ideas are particularly radical but in the world of law this is pushing the limits! I ended up leaving the firm that I co-founded and am now a Group Principal with Nexus Law Group – an innovative full service law firm with a wealth of senior legal experience.
I try to bring colour, freshness and vibrancy to your legal experience. Because that’s exactly how I like to live my life. I’m location independent and I’ve worked really hard to make my career suit my lifestyle. Moving to the Gold Coast was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! Most days I wake up early with the sunrise and spend the morning practicing yoga & having a coffee with my friends. Then I’ll jump online and do some awesome work with amazing people all over the country. I always make sure I have time to head down and relax on the beach or go for a surf. So if I call you and you hear waves in the background; sorry (not sorry!).
My mission is to be a happy healthy vibrant lawyer so that I can give the best experience possible to the people who need my help. But it’s not all chilling on the beach! I’m incredibly committed to my technical expertise as a lawyer. I am a fellow of the Tax Institute of Australia and I’ve been published in Australia’s leading monthly tax journal, Thompson Reuter’s Weekly tax Bulletin. I spent 10 years working my butt off at McCullough Robertson and View Legal specialising deeply in my chosen areas of law, and I’m super focused on maintaining that standard of excellence in my career. But at the end of the day, it has to be fun! I love sharing my insights about estate planning through videos on YouTube and social media so if you’re not following me yet and would like to get to know me better – check out my social media, especially Instagram where you’ll see daily snippets of my life in my stories.