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We all spend a great deal of time and effort accumulating wealth, but without a proper succession plan it can disappear very quickly. There are many risks involved in succession planning. Incompetent or dishonest attorneys and trustees, estate litigation, lost tax opportunities and inadvertent entity succession are just some of the elements that can adversely affect even the best-laid plans.

Consider these facts

  • Over the next 20 years there will be the biggest intergenerational transfer of wealth ever.
  • Your clients will want to talk about it because it is important to them.
  • If you don't talk to your clients about it, one of your competitors will!

Have you asked your clients the following questions?

  1. Who will look after their personal and business affairs if they lose capacity?
  2. Do they have an up-to-date will that covers all contingencies - including the client, their spouse and children all dying at the same time?
  3. Do any beneficiaries need protection - for example, do beneficiaries lack capacity or require asset protection?
  4. Do they hold assets outside the jurisdiction?
  5. Is their a possibility that someone will make a claim against their estate?
  6. Who will control the family trust when they die or lose capacity?
  7. How will their superannuation be dealt with when they die or lose capacity?
  8. Are they interested in giving to charities?
  9. Have they thought about the tax consequences of their estate plan?
  10. How will their business interests be dealt with if they die?

Each of these questions will lead to other issues set out in this book.