I was messaged today via Facebook from an old friend who simply asked:
'Does your Dad do Wills?'
It's a simple question, but I know it's not the question they should be asking. I responded 'Yes', and after some brief chat, I was told that she was asking for a friend who, while only 35 years old, recently had a serious health issue, and the doctors weren't sure how positive his prognosis was.
As we were typing over Facebook, and as I had plenty of work to finish of my own, I tried to be as succinct as I could in order to help my friend in the most time efficient way possible.
Out of this brief back and forth came three simple questions to help her figure out if her friend needed the kind of quality estate planning Will my father Terry Purcell of RetireLaw drafts.
It occurred to me these three steps or questions would be the same for anyone curious about Wills.
What does your friend own? What is the total value of his assets?
Does he have someone special in his life that he wants it to go to? i.e. spouse, partner, any children?
Do the value of his assets and the person(s) he wants to leave it to warrant spending a few grand on a quality estate planning Will?*
* Quality estate planning Wills contain provisions which enable beneficiaries to hold their share of the estate in a beneficiary-controlled testamentary trust and thus enjoy special privileges under tax law, bankruptcy law and Family Law to allow a protected and long term enjoyment of their inherited assets.
I told my friend if you can answer the first two questions I'll tell you the answer to question three.
If her friend doesn't own any significant assets of value, and he doesn't have anyone special to leave his assets to outside of his immediate family (i.e. parents & siblings) then there would be little point in spending the time and money on quality estate planning documentation.
But if your friend is like many Australians, with a home, some super, maybe an investment or life insurance policy, who also have a spouse and children they desperately care about, then these assets quickly add up to an estate with a monetary value that is very much worth the time and money.
Answering questions one and two is your job, answering question three is my father's job.
It all starts with RetireLaw's Client Questionnairewhich answers questions one and two in detail, and a free initial consultation with Terry or Dawn to determine the answer to question three i.e. do you actually need estate planning?
I also told my friend to watch the video tutorial below that I created with my father: