Estate Planning

There is more to Estate planning than having a Will

Estate planning is comfortably the most neglected aspect of financial planning.  People don’t like thinking about the inevitable, I certainly don’t, but none-the-less it is important. For a lot of people, once they have a Will they think they have their estate planning covered.

Whilst getting a Will is a great start, a number of assets don’t make up part of a deceased’s estate and other provisions need to be made. The fact that these assets don’t make up part of the deceased estate can also present opportunities for Estate planning strategies.

Superannuation, for most of us, is one of our largest assets and funds in Superannuation do not make up part of an estate and therefore are not covered by a Will. This also includes insurance held inside Superannuation. The most effective method to ensure that your Superannuation (including insurances) pass onto the person you wish, is by using a binding nomination. A binding nomination is absolute, and the trustee of the Superannuation fund must act in line with the binding nomination.

A non-binding nomination is viewed as an indication only, and the trustee will use this as a guide, but is obligated to act in your best interests. This can cause issues. It is worth noting that the taxation treatment is different for dependants and non-dependants (as per the Superannuation act definitions). Where possible, it is best to have Superannuation left to a dependant and, if need be, equalised elsewhere.

Assets not owned by a natural person (ie companies, trusts etc) are not included in the estate. Shares in companies and units in unit trusts however, can be passed on through a Will, but may require to be dealt with in another method depending on the structure.

There are a number of estate planning issues in relation to discretionary trusts. It is essential to ensure that your wishes in relation to beneficiaries, appointers and trustees are outlined in the trust deed.

Houses owned as joint tenants automatically transfer to the surviving joint tenant. This is perfect for many who would like their partner to have their house if they pass away. In the event that they have other beneficiaries, this may not be appropriate. In the event that a couple would like their share house to pass onto someone other than their partner, but would like their partner to be able to continue to live in the house, further measures must be taken.


These are just some aspects of estate planning that need to be considered. Having a Will is a start, but only the beginning when it comes to Estate planning. 

Author; Alex McKenzie Categories: Future Financial Services Blog

About the Author

Alex McKenzie

Alex McKenzie

Owner at Future Financial Services


  • Paraplanner at Zammit Partners Investments
  • Unit Trust Administrator at Colonial First State


  • University of Western Sydney
  • Penrith High


As a Financial Planner I help people to achieve what they would like in life. This involves helping you to identify the things in life they would like , developing plans to help achieve them and strategies to protect what you already have. We do this by providing Financial Advice to guide you through your life stages.

The financial planning process involves determining a clients current situation and financial objectives and tailoring strategies to assist in best achieving those objectives.

I am an expert in superannuation, investments and insurance, these are tools we use to help you achieve your goals.

I aim to use my knowledge of superannuation, taxation and Centrelink to efficiently use your assets and income to achieve your financial goals.

Retirement and pre-retirement planning, wealth creation, asset protection, insurance planning and estate planning are all areas of advice that I provide.

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