PLANNING AHEAD TO SUPPORT YOUR PARTNER
Unfortunately, the demise of one partner before the other is inevitable. To help ease the burden from a financial perspective, a review of your current Estate Planning arrangements including your Wills and ownership of your assets in advance is highly recommended.
How are your assets currently held? If they are held jointly, then they automatically revert to the surviving spouse upon the demise of a partner. However, assets held instead in a Tenants in Common arrangement or individually can offer substantial benefits as the portion/s owned by the spouse who has passed away are considered willable assets and therefore flow through into his/hers deceased Estate.
Maintaining funds within an Estate, or a Trust that can be established via your Wills, can offer significant tax and most importantly, Centrelink benefits to shelter the funds from the means test for the assessment of the surviving spouse’s Age Pension benefits.
It is often the case that the surviving spouse may lose their Centrelink Age Pension entitlements when one partner passes away given the reduced asset and income means tests that are applied to a single individual as opposed to a couple. A loss of the Age Pension also means the loss of the associated fringe benefits such as a reduction in utility bills, council rates and car registration, and can sometimes actually increase the cost of living for the surviving spouse as a single individual.
Please make an appointment to speak with us regarding the review of your current agreements and to implement an updated Estate Plan to protect your beneficiaries and most importantly, your partner.