“I don’t need financial planning advice”

We all need financial planning advice. Don’t let this happen to your family! My sister in law passed away a number of years ago. She was 29, her death was unexpected, and she left behind two beautiful very young children, and her partner.

She died without a Will. While her affairs were quite simple, this has created significantly more work for her family. In fact, 15 months after her death and her estate was still not yet finalised. Worst of all, someone the family has never met had to determine what happened with her assets by applying state intestacy laws. At the time, it was difficult to know if the trustee would see to her estate being left to her family as she would have wanted.

She had four different super funds. Each of these had a small balance and a different address listed. She was young, moved around a bit, and took very little interest in her finances. As such, she had lost track of most of her super funds.

Her partner had a small glimmer of good news when he discovered one of her older super funds had $140,000 life insurance cover attached to it. He handed me an old statement and asked me to follow it up. It wouldn’t have paid off the mortgage, but was comfortably the biggest asset of her estate and would provide a new start for him and the kids.

Telling him that the insurance cover had lapsed was one of the hardest things I have had to do. The super fund had sent her a number of letters advising her that the premiums had eroded the whole fund balance, and asking her to top up the funds. The insurance was finally cancelled five months before she passed away. Because she had not advised the fund of her current address, she received none of the letters.

People say to me all the time, “I don’t need financial planning advice, I will come and see you when I have money to invest!” My sister in law did not have many assets, but certainly could have used financial advice. Consolidating super and an assessment of her insurance needs would have come at a small cost, with a vastly superior outcome for her family.

I don’t understand the “It will never happen to me” attitude. It is always happening to someone. We all have a ‘use by date’. Some of us will die too young. Please think about those you will leave behind.

This website contains general advice which does not consider your particular circumstances. You should seek advice from Wakefield Partners who can consider if the general advice is right for you.