Ensuring our loved ones are financially protected after we’re gone is something that’s important to all of us – but is having a Will in place enough to keep them safe?
Chris Browne, Director of Rising Tide Financial Services, talks to radio host Fairsy about the steps that should be taken to ensure our assets are divided in the way we intend them to be.
Fairsy: Now, I’m going to talk about something here that not a lot of people do. Certainly not a lot of people plan to have one and they should, I’m talking about wills. Joining me from Rising Tide Financial Services is Chris Browne, Chris thanks for your time mate, how are you going?
Chris Browne: Yeah good Fairsy.
Fairsy: Now, wills. Why are we reluctant to have one?
Chris Browne: Look, I don’t know what the problem is… But the reality is about 40% of Australians still don’t have a will, which is alarming. Even those people that have a will, sometimes those will can be contested by troublesome family members and trustees of super funds. So, we need to get fair dinkum about it and start taking it seriously because we have a bucket load of cash sitting in superannuation these days.
Fairsy: We could, I mean I could have stuff sitting there and not know about because I don’t know how to go about it. How do you go about that?
Chris Browne: Look, I think the key thing is you need to track down a family lawyer. There’s different lawyers out there, some specify in varying different topics but, family lawyers are the guys that are really across wills. First things first, get a will in place, particularly if you’ve got kids or if you’ve got other assists like a home. The second thing is, and this was demonstrated in a case up in Queensland. Daniel Leverton died unexpectedly, he was a 40-year-old and leave behind two daughters 7 & 9. Sadly, his defacto partner was left I think it was 78% of his super and life insurance, and his 7 & 9-year-old kids were only left 22%, 11% each, even though he had a will in place. Where I’m going to here is, if you’ve got super make sure you’ve got a binding debt nomination. Call your super fund today and get one in place.
Fairsy: That’s very good advice, I just find it staggering 40% of us. No one likes talking about death but, you do have to plan for it as it is going to happen one day. So, it is better to have something in place that covers you.
Chris Browne: Absolutely, there’s so many people and families out there that just regret it when people haven’t spent the time to just sit down with the family lawyer. In my experience, were talking about $200-300 to get a will in place and, in terms of the debt binding nomination that is simply getting a statement witnessed by someone and sending it through to your super fund. It’s pretty easy Fairsy.
Fairsy: It is, and again, you’re protecting your family and you’re making sure YOUR money and your other things like your property, is going to where you want it to go.
Chris Browne: Absolutely right, and we work too hard for it, don’t we?
Fairsy: Absolutely right. The last thing you really want to do is put extra stress on family members when they’re already grieving.
Chris Browne: That’s exactly right. The scary thing is anyone that is seen to be a dependent on the person that’s passed away, can contest the will and guess who pays for it?
Chris Browne: The estate. So, the person who is contesting the will doesn’t actually have to pay for the legal fees, it’s the deceased persons estate that pays for the legal proceedings. That’s pretty alarming, so there’s no consequences if they lose the contest.
Fairsy: I was just about to say, we know legal fees are not cheap and if it’s a long drawn out thing well, the estate could get chewed up very quickly financially obviously.
Chris Browne: 100% and the kids are often the people that wear the consequences of that.
Fairsy: Alright now, bottom line Chris. Very quickly, if someone is listening now, what are the first few steps they should be doing?
Chris Browne: Call a family lawyer and get a will in place, if you don’t have one. I know that 40% of your listeners don’t have one in place so, do that. And then, in relation to your superannuation and your life insurance, make sure that you’ve got a binding debt nomination in place. If your super fund doesn’t have that facility, I’d recommend that you look for another super fund or put pressure on the super fund to make sure that they have that option for you. Because, it takes away trustees discretion and it means that the money that you’ve worked hard to build for your family, ends up in the pockets of the right people.
Fairsy: Alright, Chris Browne from Rising Tide Financial Services. Thank you so much for your time, I’m sure you’ve got all the info on your website too.
Chris Browne: We do, there’s a blog on the topic. Just check out the website catchtherisingtide.com.au
Fairsy: Chris Browne, Thanks for your time!
This interview originally appeared on Fairsy’s Big Breakfast.