Australians unprepared for post-death wealth transfer

Australia will soon experience the biggest intergenerational transfer of wealth in history, with around $2.4 trillion to be transferred from baby boomers to the next generation, but many people are unprepared, Australian Unity has warned.

With the sheer volume of wealth to be transferred, Australians should be ensuring that they have the appropriate estate planning structures in place, with sufficient safeguards, to give them control over where their money goes.

According to Australian Unity, while nearly 60 per cent of Australians have a will, nearly three quarters of contested wills were successfully changed.

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The company’s recently appointed executive general manager – life and super, Adnan Glinac, said that there were structures available to baby boomers that could ensure that their wealth was passed onto future generations effectively.

He pointed to investment bonds as one mechanism that could provide a secure and clear means to direct wealth to its intended recipient, as well as a way of minimising tax imposed on beneficiaries.

“Bonds sit outside of the deceased’s will. They are not subject to the usual delays associated with probate and are very difficult, if not impossible, to successfully challenge,” Glinac said.

He said that non-traditional wealth transfer mechanisms such as bonds also offered the flexibility many Australians needed in their estate planning.

“We often find that blended families, parents with children who have special needs, or those with philanthropic wishes, want their wealth distributed in a very specific and predetermined manner. Often traditional will structures lack the flexibility to meet these needs,” Glinac said.

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