For previous generations of Australians, retirement usually meant ceasing work and hoping to live long enough to qualify for the age pension. Apart from the family home and personal belongings there were usually no substantial assets to leave behind for children or other family members. Superannuation has changed all of that.
The super impact
Superannuation became compulsory over 20 years ago, and as a result, retirement funds have grown exponentially. There is also a plethora of retirement income products that offer more choice in how money is managed. Accessing the age pension is becoming harder, which places clear responsibility on the newest generation of retirees to be at least partially self-funded.
Intergenerational wealth management
The traditional concept of a ‘family’ was once “Mum, Dad and 2.4 kids”. This ‘traditional’ view has been completely turned on its head with single-parent families, same-sex parents and blended families to name a few.
Compared to your parents’ generation, there are a lot more factors to take into account when managing your finances.
Is a will really necessary?
It can be confronting to think about who gets what after your death so it’s easy to ignore this task. However, the upside of being properly organised now is that your loved ones will have certainty and clarity about your wishes after you have gone.
We are firm believers in seeking appropriate advice from a lawyer to draw up your Will, and while you're at it, talk about Powers of Attorney too!
Put your trust in a trust
You can also use your will to set up a testamentary trust. This is a type of legal arrangement which is set up by the appropriate wording in a will and becomes operational upon death. These trusts offer flexibility regarding the distribution of income and assets, and the structure can provide tax advantages too.
Testamentary trust structures are most commonly used to protect the interests of beneficiaries with special needs, such as being a legal minor or in poor health. They can also be used by will-makers who have complex family, financial or business arrangements.
These can be quite a tax-effective way for a child to inherit a parent’s superannuation and any linked life insurance. To make sure that a child pension can be activated when it’s needed, the superannuation fund needs to have already noted the child as a beneficiary to their parent’s account. As not all superannuation funds provide this option, it pays to seek advice in this area.
We know this is an unpopular topic but it is crucial to protect your assets and care for your beneficiaries after you’ve moved on. Talk to us and your solicitor today to make sure your next generation handles your wealth as per your wishes.