Estate planning for carers
Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.’
– Alan Lakein
A good estate plan can give you the peace-of-mind to live on with the knowledge that your wishes and assets are passed on in a way that benefits the person who relies on you.
What is estate planning?
Estate planning is a way of making sure your assets and belongings are passed onto your beneficiaries in the best way possible.
An estate plan should
- Make good financial sense;
- Be simple to manage;
- Be inexpensive to maintain; and
- Get reviewed regularly.
Estate planning laws are becoming increasingly complex. It is important that you obtain legal and financial advice to make sure you get the most benefit for either for yourself or, a person with disability that your are responsible for and any other beneficiaries.
Most people working in this area will recommend a tax and means-tested pension planning as a part of your estate plan. They will also look at how you can get the most use and enjoyment of your assets whilst you are alive, whilst still providing for your beneficiaries after you die.
What do I need to consider?
- How much will it cost me to set up?
- Are there any ongoing costs?
- What is the best option that will take care of the needs of the person with disability?
- How am I going to protect the best interests of the person?
- Is there enough flexibility in case the person’s situation changes?
- If the person cannot look after their financial affairs, who can help them and what kind of powers do I want that person to have?
- Do I want to choose them? How will I make sure they do their job?
- Am I concerned about who will inherit my assets after the death of the person I am leaving my assets to?
If you have other beneficiaries
- Consider their age and needs;
- Whether they have any independent income or assets; and
- The relationship between the person with disability and your other beneficiaries.
If your beneficiaries are young, for example, under 14 years of age, each will need support from an appointed adult. However if your other beneficiaries are adults and financially independent, you may want to leave more of your estate to the person with disability. Make sure you talk to all your beneficiaries about what you want to do.
Thinking about these issues will help you decide how you want to leave your estate to the person with disability.
Some options are
- To leave your estate directly to the person;
- To the person and to nominate an administrator to manage their financial affairs in a trust; and
- To a friend, relative or service provider in return for appropriate care of the person.
For more information about planning for the future when you care for someone with a disability download our free publication here.