Estate Planning Made Simple
A Centuria Investment Bond gives you certainty and simplicity in estate planning.
The Importance of Estate Planning
Clients spend a lifetime saving and building their wealth, however without an effective estate planning solution, families can face dire consequences on death.
These consequences may include:
- Distribution to the wrong beneficiaries
- High legal fees
- Lengthy delays in accessing estate proceeds
- Erosion of wealth due to taxation implications
- Confusion and stress
These consequences can occur when estate protection and planning is considered as the last phase after investment decisions have been made. Estate planning should be considered simultaneously, early in the financial planning process.
Getting this phase right can get your clients assets, in the right hands, at the right time.
Avoid Potential Issues with Wills and Estates
An investment bond may provide greater simplicity and control over death benefits than other investment products such as unit trusts, shares or term deposits.
Upon death, most investment products form part of the estate and may be caught up in any actions taken against the estate. It is also left to the executor to make decisions about the distribution in accordance with the terms of the will.
These actions usually cannot be undertaken until probate or letters of administration are obtained. So the whole process can take months or even years if the estate is complicated or being disputed.
Once distributions are made, tax may be payable by either the estate (if assets are sold) or the beneficiary when assets received in-specie from the estate are subsequently sold.
In contrast, the death benefits from an investment bond can be directed to a nominated beneficiary. Investment Proceeds are paid tax-free to dependant and non-dependant beneficiaries regardless of how long the investment has been held.
Building wealth in an investment bond may reduce the risk of disputes over estates and enable the benefits to be paid more quickly.
Investment proceeds are paid tax-free to dependent and non-dependent beneficiaries regardless of how long the investment has been held.
What if a Client Dies Intestate?
A significant number of people die each year in Australia without a valid will. Reports state 45% of people may not have a valid will.1
Some simply don’t get around to arranging a will. You may also have clients who experience a change in circumstances (such as divorce or marriage), which may invalidate a will. Errors in executing a will can also cause it to be invalid.
If a client dies interstate, assets that fall into the estate will be distributed according to the relevant state laws.
With an investment bond, if a beneficiary is nominated, the proceeds will be paid directly to the beneficiary or entity regardless of whether a valid will exists or not.
The Investment Bond Edge
The advantages of an investment bond in an estate protection and planning strategy are summarised in the table below.
|Unit trusts, shares, term deposits||Investment Bond|
|1||Who is the beneficiary?||Forms part of the estate.||Paid directly to the nominated beneficiary, or the estate if no nomination.|
|2||What are the tax implications?||The estate will pay tax on realised gains if the asset is sold.
Alternatively the asset can be passed onto the beneficiary with the accumulated tax liability.
|Paid tax-free to dependant or non-dependant beneficiary, or to the estate.|
|3||What happens if the estate is challenged?||Distributions are tied up until issues are resolved. The instructions in the will may be varied||Not affected if paid to nominated beneficiary.|
|4||What if the owner dies intestate?||Distributed in accordance with state laws.||Benefit is still paid to nominated beneficiary if elected.|
|5||When can Distributions be paid?||Need to first obtain probate or letters of administration and then resolve any disputes. Timeframe can be lengthy.||Payment made after providing appropriate documentation to life company.|
1 NSW Trustee & Guardian: Attorney General & Justice, Frequently asked questions on wills, www.tag.nsw.gov.au/wills-faqs.html
Disclaimer:This whitepaper is for the use of Financial Advisors only. This document is not to be provided to retail clients. The examples provided are illustrative only. Suitability of a Centuria Investment Bond will depend on a person’s circumstances, financial objectives and needs, none of which have been taken into consideration in preparing this whitepaper. Prospective investors should obtain and read a copy of the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for any investment bond and consider the information in the PDS in light of their circumstances, objectives and needs before making a decision to invest. This document is not an offer to invest in any of Centuria’s Investment Bonds. An investment in any of Centuria’s Investment Bonds is subject to risk as detailed in the PDS. Issued by Centuria Life Limited ABN 79 087 649 054 AFSL 230867.