Creating an estate plan: how to get started

1 August 2021
Creating an estate plan: how to get started
Creating an estate plan: how to get started

Many believe that to create an estate plan is to simply write up a will. The truth is, estate planning covers much more than this.

A will is simply a legally binding document that sees your money and assets divided and distributed to people or organisations you love when you pass away.

An estate plan can also include who takes over your affairs if you lose the capacity to make sound decisions in the later stages of your life, where your superannuation goes and more.

Getting your estate plan together is an absolute necessity. If you want to get started, read on.

Get your power of attorney set up

A power of attorney is a document that legally gives someone the right to look after your affairs for you.

It’s important to choose someone who you believe to be responsible and will be there when you need them most.

Your affairs can include financial, legal and even medical decisions. There are a variety of powers of attorney available as well as Advance Care Directives to cover the breadth of decisions that may need to be made.

  • A General power of attorney gives the person you nominate the authority to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf for the period you set, however it expires when you are not legally able to make decisions anymore, or upon your death.

  • An Enduring power of attorney is almost the same as a General one but does not expire when you legally cannot make decisions anymore. An enduring power of attorney expires upon your death.

  • Advance Care Directives cover non-financial matters. They allow you to write down your wishes, preferences and instructions for your future health care, end of life, living arrangements and personal matters. Advance Care Directives also allow you to appoint one or more Substitute Decision-Makers in the case you’re unable to make decisions yourself.

If you’re trying to decide what power of attorney you’ll need or if you may need Advance Care Directives, it’s best to consult an estate planning lawyer for more information.

Nominate where your super goes

Nominating where your super goes to is an important part of estate planning.

As a Super SA member, the way in which you make this nomination will depend on the scheme that you’re part of.

If you’re at this stage of creating your estate plan, we highly recommend that you consult the Product Disclosure Statement for your specific scheme, for more details.

Alternatively, you can get in touch with our Member Services team by calling them on (08) 8214 7800 or filling in our contact form now.

Make sure you have a Death Benefit Nomination in place with Super SA
Make sure you have a Death Benefit Nomination in place with Super SA

Creating your will is final step in your estate plan

The last thing you need to do is create your will if you haven’t already.

Your will can include who receives your money and assets after you pass away, who takes care of your children, how you would prefer your funeral to be run and your burial preference.

  Not all assets are included in your will.
  Some assets such as your super and trusts may not go via your will. Also, some joint assets don’t go via a will at all.

It’s extremely important that your will is valid and is recognised legally. If it isn't, all your instructions may not be followed when you pass away.

If you want to make amendments to your will at a later date you can, however it’s best to speak to a professional before making any amendments.

Lastly, don’t forget to nominate an Executor, your Legal Personal Representative.

Your Executor is the trusted person (or people) who will make sure that everything in your will happens. They’ll see overseas money and assets divided and distributed as per your wishes as well as see through any other requests you made in your will.

Trying to get your estate plan in order?

Estate planning isn’t simple.

If you’re trying to put an estate plan together, we highly recommend getting help from an estate planning lawyer. There are a lot of details that need covering and they can help you navigate them all.

If you would like to know more about your options under each Super SA scheme, get in touch with our Member Services team.

Give them a call on (08) 8214 7800 or fill in our contact form now.

The superannuation schemes administered by Super SA are exempt public sector superannuation schemes and are not regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) or the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). Super SA is not required to hold an Australian Financial Services Licence to provide general advice about a Super SA product. The information in this publication is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation, or needs. Super SA recommends that before making any decisions about its products you consider the appropriateness of this information in the context of your own objectives, financial situation, and needs, read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), and seek financial advice from a licensed financial adviser in relation to your financial position and requirements.