Now is the time of year that most people make commitments to themselves as to what they want to achieve in 2012. Make one of those resolutions to get your affairs in order. Do you know what will happen to your assets when you die? Will your family be able to support themselves? Will the people you want to have your assets actually receive them?
For a variety of reasons some people, perhaps on the advice of a well-meaning accountant, have more complex structures than others. In our experience many do not understand them. Whilst this may suit your needs for the moment, it can lead to more severe consequences should you pass away. For example, we have come across many clients who have substantial assets in family trusts which ultimately they do not control even though they may be the sole trustee.
This can and has resulted in people outside the family who are not beneficiaries of the trust suddenly having control of the trust and being able to remove the trustee and appoint a new one. The new trustee will then have all the powers of the old trustee to invest, dispose of assets and make decisions regarding distributions to beneficiaries (or even decide against distributions) in accordance with the trust deed.
Don’t be one of those people who just didn’t get around to it. You will only make life more difficult for your loved ones. Take the time now to ensure your affairs are in order and enjoy a stress free 2012.