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Graeme Heckenberg
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The Effect of a Life Insurance Policy on Your Estate

August 1, 2017 by Graeme Heckenberg

Have you checked your life insurance policies? If you have nominated a beneficiary for your life insurance policy then your life insurance policy will not be included in your Estate.

What you should do? Anyone with a life insurance policy needs to be aware of exactly how the monies under the policy will be dealt with after they are gone.

The main trap for people with a life insurance policy is, the nomination of a beneficiary and the effect that this nomination will have on their Estate. If a beneficiary is nominated in your life insurance policy, then the insurer will pay the proceeds of the policy directly to the beneficiary. In essence, the monies payable under the life insurance policy will not be included in your Estate and will not be passed onto beneficiaries named in your Will.

If there is no beneficiary named under your life insurance policy then the monies payable under the policy will be included in your Estate and distributed in accordance with your Will.

There is no right or wrong way in which to direct the monies payable under your life insurance policy, as long as you are aware of the effect that naming a beneficiary in your life insurance policy will have. However, you do need to speak to an expert Wills and Estates lawyer, to ensure that the monies payable under your life insurance policy go to the right person. If your insurance policy is though your superannuation fund, then you need to seek advice on how to make a binding nomination to ensure that the monies go to the beneficiary you have nominated.

And remember, things change. If you have nominated beneficiaries under a life insurance policy, make sure you review these nominations. Divorce, relationship breakdown or death of a nominated beneficiary, might require changes to be made to your beneficiary under your life insurance policy to reflect your changed circumstances.

When you are planning your Estate the best thing you can do is seek expert legal advice from a Wills and Estates lawyer. This advice will encompass all facets of your assets and liabilities and what you wish each beneficiary to receive. This will necessarily cover your life insurance policies whether they are through an independent insurer, or through your superannuation fund. Rather than risk making an oversight obtain expert assistance to plan your Estate and draft your Will to accurately reflect your intentions.