Monthly Archives: November 2017

A modern trap

Today’s modern electronic world makes it easier to keep and access records. But it also enables a modern trap.  Without a paper trail one could have passed away yesterday and the evidence of one’s assets¸ liabilities and commitments would not be evident.

Possible ramifications include:-
  • A surviving spouse not being able to access funds.
  • A surviving spouse not being able pay bills.
  • A single person’s commitments such as credit cards and loans not being met.

And all of this would add considerable stress at a time of grieving.

Some people assume as accountants, we know every asset that someone owns. The reality is that we are only aware of those assets that generate income that is taxable and are therefore reported in a Tax Return.

So what do you do? Make sure someone else knows or is left with instructions as to assets and passwords.  How you effect this depends on the complexity of your affairs, your family structure, existing security arrangements and who you trust most.

You could also consider keeping such notes with your will.  You might also consider using a master password protection program (which we will cover in a future post).

At MRS, we will spend today planning for your success tomorrow.

Estate planning lessons

Last Wednesday, we ran a seminar which explored estate planning, at home aged care solutions, ways to deal with family members suffering from dementia and the various types super death benefit nominations. We had an almost full house despite the stormy weather and despite the fact that we last ran an estate planning seminar just two years ago.  We are so pleased that so many saw the wisdom to learn, and for some, re-visit key estate planning lessons.

Simply put, estate planning is the process of ensuring that the right assets get to the right people in the most efficient manner.

This process requires the consideration of both state and federal laws (such as Capital Gains Tax).

The process also considers that the following assets which must be addressed separately as they do not come into an estate and therefore cannot be dealt with by a will:-
  • Jointly owned assets.
  • Assets held within a discretionary trust.
  • Superannuation (unless addressed via a death benefit nomination).
  • The beneficial owner of a life insurance policy.

Although a will is usually the main estate planning tool, it is just one of many estate planning tools.

Sadly, less than half of the population have a will; these people are said to die intestate. I say sad as intestate provisions, even with upcoming changes to the way default provisions will distributes assets, rarely deliver anything close to an optimum outcome.

It is my personal belief that one has a moral obligation to ensure one has an effective will as:-

  • Those left behind at a time of grieving prefer to have a set of instructions to follow. They also prefer not to second guess what you would have preferred.
  • It prevents disputes. I know of cases where improper estate planning has ended in court costs of over $300,000. One should also read this as years of delay and family members that no longer speak to each other.
  • It ensures family complexities are best handled such as second marriages, kids getting divorced or having addictions such as drugs, spending or gambling as well as protecting inheritances being claimed by business creditors.
  • It greatly diminishes the likelihood that someone will be able to contest an estate.

Estate planning is your opportunity to ensure your life’s work, sacrifice and your intended legacy is carried out.   The more complicated your structure, the more professional assistance you will require from lawyers, accountants and financial planners.  It may cost money to properly implement but it can save a great deal more in the long run.  And it is the right thing to do.

At MRS, we will spend today planning for your success tomorrow.

$20,000 asset write-off

The $20,000 asset write-off is due to end on 30th June 2018.  Thereafter, small businesses will return to the old system of only being able to write-off the cost of an asset costing less than $1,000.

June will soon be here so best to start planning as to what you need to buy. Best also to keep out an eye for any specials in the meantime.

And don’t leave it too late. There will no doubt be a rush in June and perhaps there might some inflated prices for some assets as there was in 2009 with the 50% investment allowance.  There are also other traps to be aware of.

Won’t to know more? Then go to our previous blogs at:-


We will also be happy to answer any questions you may have. Call us on 9899-7511.

At MRS, we will spend today planning for your success tomorrow.


17 things you must have addressed

So what are the 17 things you must have addressed?

As Benjamin Franklin once rightly noted, the only things certain in life are death and taxes. We most certainly help all of your client with the second matter. We also do our best to guide clients to undertake proper estate planning as it is something that will eventually affect everyone..

Simply put, estate planning is the process of ensuring that the right assets get to the right people in the most efficient manner.  It requires thought and consultation.

So, will your estate planning ensure the best outcomes?

If you haven’t addressed the following points, then your estate planning is likely to lead to less than optimal outcomes, possible disputes and be more financially and emotionally costly to administer.

So have you understood and considered:-

  1. My Will still reflects my wishes and considers my current assets, extended family and any entities that I have established or control.
  2. I have taken steps to prevent inheritances falling into other people’s hands due to divorce, bankruptcy, drug and gambling debts.
  3. Everyone knows where my Will is.
  4. There is proof that my last Will was written at a time when I had the mental capacity to make such decisions.
  5. I have clearly set out which personal items and family heirlooms are to be left to whom.
  6. Dying intestate (without a Will) really does matter as it rarely provides an optimal outcome.
  7. I still wish that my named executor/executrix is to administer my estate.  Are they still alive?  Are they capable of administering the complexities of my estate?  Are they still living in my home town?  Do they know they are the named executor/executrix?  What if they reject the appointment?
  8. I understood and have considered all Capital Gains Tax implications including utilising existing capital losses which may otherwise be lost.
  9. I understand that a Will dictates what happens to assets that are owned by an individual.  I therefore understand that assets owned jointly as joint tenants, the owner of life insurance policies and my superannuation cannot be dealt with by my Will.
So want to know what the other 8 matters are? You can check back for Part 2 to this blog topic or attend our upcoming seminar.

At MRS, we will spend today planning for your success tomorrow.