The estate planning process for a business goes beyond a will. However, it is fair to say that an estate plan that lacks a will, has a glaring hole that should be fixed immediately.
Westcourt can help with estate planning by collaborating with an estate planning lawyer to create a will, testamentary trust, enduring power of attorney, guardianship and medical directives. We do that by preparing complete organisation charts and family charters providing current governance documents like trust deeds, constitutions, shareholder agreements and other documents that can affect the estate, including leases, UPE and narrations of special share classes.
The “simple” act of instructing lawyers is a critical step for many families in business. Typically, the lawyers will inadvertently prepare documents that are not fit for the purpose simply because their client has not fully instructed them as to what assets the family ultimately does and does not own and in what format.
Further, Westcourt is ideally suited to act as the executor of your estate, given our detailed financial knowledge of your family and the business structures supporting your family.
Once a family has their will managed, the estate plan is not yet complete. For many families, the assets held personally are quite small. This reduction of wealth at a personal level is typically deliberate for asset protection reasons. The estate plan will focus on controlling entities through family trusts, companies, superannuation funds, unit trusts, option agreements, and shareholder agreements.
Ensuring that the tax structuring considers the estate plan is of critical importance. The tax structure of a buy and sell agreement can impact the estate plan to ensure business continuity. An insurance broker is often engaged to structure an insurance policy to finance estate plans that are currently cash poor. Alternatively, the tax profile of an asset transferred to a beneficiary is a significant item as two assets of equal value can have a considerable tax profile on the sale – effectively creating two assets of unequal value.
For estate plans that require an insurance broker or financial planner to arrange the life insurance/TPD/sickness etc. Westcourt is well placed to help – our policy of total independence allows a family to continue with their existing personal broker. We are ideally placed to assist in your estate plan- so call us today.