Estate Planning – Essential for everyone


estatePlanningEssential-5When you think of estate planning what comes to mind? For most of us, it immediately conjures up thoughts of death. Who wants to think about death when you have a whole life to live? Understandably, we often push estate planning to one side and focus on more pressing concerns such as looking after our family, paying our bills and generally living life.


If you change your view slightly, however, it’s easy to see estate planning in a more positive light. If you have loved ones that depend on you and if you want to ensure that they are properly cared for, estate planning should be important to you.


Estate planning basically ensures that the wealth you have worked hard to build is protected. It reduces the stress on your loved ones or beneficiaries by ensuring that when you pass away or become incapacitated, your wealth is transferred to them smoothly, tax effectively and according to your wishes.


Essential for everyone

The word estate can bring to mind images of vast properties and millions of dollars, but you don’t have to be wealthy to have an estate plan. You also don’t have to wait till you’re older to get your estate affairs in order.


Estate planning is essential for everyone, particularly if you:


Are the parent of minor children Have family members with special needs Have recently bought or sold major assets Have a family trust, self-managed super fund or business, and

Care about your health care treatment.


Why estate planning is important

Estate planning is vital if you want to:


  •               Avoid probate – this is often a lengthy process where your assets are frozen and cannot be transferred to your loved ones until the courts determine if your Will is valid and enforceable
  •             Minimise tax
  •              Protect your beneficiaries and your assets, and
  •             Avoid beneficiaries fighting over who gets what.


More than just a Will

Estate planning is also more than just having a Will. If you already have a Will, then you’re off to a good start. Most people, however, make the mistake of believing their Will covers all of their assets.


In reality, jointly held assets, trust assets and superannuation are excluded from Wills and should be considered as part of a comprehensive estate plan.


A comprehensive estate plan should include:

Having a valid and up-to-date Will Nominating your beneficiaries for your super Listing beneficiaries for your insurance policies Naming guardians for minor children


Setting up testamentary trusts to reduce tax liabilities for your beneficiaries, and


Choosing a power of attorney to look after your financial and personal affairs if you become incapacitated.


Get your affairs in order

The best time to get your estate affairs in order is now. We can help you set up an estate plan, ensuring you have a valid Will and enough insurance. We can also help you find the most financially and tax effective way to distribute your assets after you pass away.


Source I IOOF

There’s more to income protection than you may think

incomeProtection-4When discussing income protection with clients, we find there’s no shortage of misconceptions around what income protection actually covers, and how far reaching this cover can be.



Some people think that income protection only covers injuries and has limited value for those in low risk occupations. The reality is that it also covers illness, which makes up 40 per cent of claims.


Furthermore, it’s not only illnesses with obvious physical affects that are covered.

Mental illness is responsible for many claims and is by no means uncommon in our community; one in five Australians will experience a mental illness at some stage in their lives.


Many clients are equally unaware of the variety of ways income protection can assist, through supplementary benefits and support beyond the basic income stream. The following real life story dramatically illustrates the value of quality income protection insurance.


How Simon’s story unfolded

In the three months following the death of Simon’s best friend, Simon developed a debilitating post traumatic stress disorder resulting in clinical depression and time off work.


Fortunately, some years earlier Simon had purchased income protection.


This paid him a regular income, which helped replace lost wages. Simon was also offered a rehabilitation benefit, through which he was assigned a rehabilitation adviser.


The rehab adviser developed a management plan and worked with Simon’s GP to identify appropriate courses of therapy.


With Simon unable to return to his own occupation, the rehab adviser engaged a specialist — paid for by insurance — to retrain Simon for the building industry. Simon progressed well and was able to secure his first building job.


A twist in the tale

Long working hours, less family time and medical support took its toll; Simon suffered a relapse. The rehab adviser once again became involved and even organised a personal trainer to help Simon lose weight and to improve his general well-being.


Simon persevered, recovered and was able to recommence work, this time with more on-the-job training and support. Despite the fact that he was working full time, the insurance continued paying partial income support, due to his wages being less than what they were prior to his disability.


Taking the next step

Simon’s story demonstrates the value of quality income protection insurance that goes beyond a simple income stream; insurance that provides holistic support for the complexities that illness can bring.


Source I Asteron


Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. If you found yourself in a situation similar to Simon’s, could you survive without income protection? Don’t leave it to chance; speak to us today about the income protection options available to you.


People seeking support and information about depression can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 and MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.

Financial Planning is about much more than retirement

retirement-3Many people may think financial planning is all about retirement. It’s not. Financial planning is about making the most of what you have – at every stage in life. Whether it’s investing, superannuation or minimising tax; whatever your stage in life, financial planning can make a difference.


If you are interested in investing, there are several things you need to consider. For example, how long do you have to invest and how comfortable are you with fluctuations in the value of your investments? We can help you determine your time horizon and risk profile and then recommend the most suitable type of investments to help you realise your goals.


What about your super? Is it working as hard as you are? Your risk profile can also be applied to your superannuation investments. It’s a long-term investment, but it’s important to make sure it’s invested in the right way.


Limits to the amount of super you can contribute each year ($25,000 in concessional contributions for people under 60 and $35,000 for those aged 60 and over) means the earlier you start, the better. Contributing more to super will not only boost your super balance, it could even reduce the amount of tax you pay!


Everybody’s different – different needs, different goals and different circumstances, however, professional financial advice can help you at every stage of your life.


We can provide guidance on:


  •           Investments, shares, gearing and insurance
  •          Tax-effective superannuation strategies
  •           Centrelink and aged care strategies
  •          Estate planning strategies, and
  •          Portfolio administration.


To start planning for a successful financial future, call us today to make an appointment.


Source I IOOF

The Importance of Trauma Cover

importanceofTraumaCover-2Thanks to modern day treatments, cancer survival rates are on the rise. But can you afford to be treated?

 Our new case study will help you understand the importance of trauma cover when facing serious illness.


One in two Australians will develop cancer before the age of 85 and one in five will die from the disease, according to a report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).


But while the incidence of all cancers rose by 27 per cent in the 25 years to 2007, deaths from the disease have actually fallen by 16 per cent. This proves just how far modern medicine has come and the calibre of treatments available to treat the various forms of this illness.


In fact, this report has revealed that cancer patients are increasingly living longer with 66 per cent now surviving for at least five years (for all cancers combined in the period 2006-2010) – a large increase from the 47 per cent survival rate for all cancers in the period 1982-1987.


According to Anne Bech, spokeswoman for AIHW, “While overall cancer survival is improving in Australia variations still exist between types of cancer.”


The report also revealed that cancer sufferers, who have survived for five years, had a 90 per cent chance of living for another five years for all cancers combined. This is all good news right? Well if you have enough money to cover all the necessary (and ongoing) treatments then absolutely! But what if you can’t afford to be treated?


One might be forgiven for thinking that a combination of income protection insurance, private health insurance and Medicare are enough to cover the treatment of serious illness. But the truth is, in the case of cancer, where it can take years of treatment including many rounds of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and even surgery, serious illness can come at a huge cost which can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars out of your pocket.


It’s important to speak to us to understand the difference a lump sum payment can make in the event of suffering a pre-defined traumatic event such as cancer.


Not only will trauma cover help to meet any out of pocket expense you might face, but it could in fact, ultimately assist with the road to recovery by removing some of the added financial pressure created by the need for ongoing and often expensive treatments.


Are you financially prepared for the treatments that go along with surviving serious illness?


For more information on trauma cover to put your mind at ease, contact us today.


Source I Zurich