Coffee with Karl Episode 4: Estate Planning & Wills - Dennis Danaher
KB: Okay, welcome back everyone. We’re here with Denis Danaher today, a solicitor. You can tell because I’m wearing a tie…
DD: I’m more relaxed!
KB: I've been waiting to get a Collingwood supporter on the live feed for quite some time, so here he is! Today we’re here to talk about estate planning. It's a very important topic, a little morbid sometimes!
DD: But dear to my heart!
KB: Definitely critical for any good life plan really. So I just wanted to have a chat to Denis and understand a little bit more about you and the business.
DD: I'll give you the short version… wife and two kids, Collingwood supporter, love lunches as much as I can get them (laughing)…look I started up the business about seven years ago, as you know Karl, and since then we've been growing fairly steadily. As a lawyer, we look to make it pretty easy for our clients.
KB: Great, so you’re a full service law firm?
DD: We’d like to think so, yes.
KB: Excellent. So mate, in the interest of keeping it short and sharp, describe estate planning to me and the audience.
DD: Well it all goes back to the ‘why’ I think Karl, and the ‘why’ is this. I've not met a person who has yet to live forever so we're all going to die, it's going to happen, it’s a question of how you die. Whether it’s with your affairs in order, or not. Back in the good old days, making a will was what you did. Whereas now, a will doesn't cut it because of superannuation and all these other complications. So an estate plan is getting everything in order including your will, your powers of attorney, your superannuation and making sure your structures are good.
KB: Okay, excellent. So what happens if you pass away without a will?
DD: Essentially, something hits the fan. It’s not pretty. There’s a few fallacies around and it doesn't necessarily go to the government, but it certainly creates trouble and the other thing is that if you're married with kids like myself and you, it doesn't necessarily go to your wife or it doesn't go through to the spouse. I've seen instances where the husband hasn't got the whole estate, where it's gone through to the kids instead. So there are problems.
KB: Okay so in terms of relative estate planning, what would you say the top 3 mistakes are that your clients come to you with?
DD: Adopting the “she'll be right” approach is certainly number one. I think only 2% of all Australians have a will at the moment, that is just frightful. So certainly getting the plan, actually thinking about your will. Having a will, you know there are all sorts of wills out there, is the start. I think inadequate planning, also bad advice… I've seen some terrible estate plans where people haven't understood them. I'm a big fan of keeping it simple so that the client understands it. We always start with what the client wants to achieve.
KB: I’ve spoken to a lot of clients in the past and they’ve thought they had a will in place, but it’s generally been a will kit purchased from Australian Post.
DD: And look that's a really good point. Lawyers love will kits, it’s makes us very wealthy, because most will kits end up like a dog's breakfast. I mean, I look at making a will as a way of actually saving a hell of a lot of money. If you get involved in these estate claims and what not, it costs you an absolute fortune. Just for a little bit of extra money at the start, you can save yourself all the hassles. I say to clients you just tick it off the list, it's one less thing to worry about. You put it away and you don’t have to think about it again.
KB: Alright last question for you mate, what's the best piece of financial advice you’ve ever received?
DD: Well I think this is where I’m meant to say, come and speak to this man (pointing to Karl). This bloke knows his stuff.
KB: (laughing) No, definitely not! I’m keen for real anecdotes from professionals.
DD: The best piece of financial advice I can give is… someone said to me to buy assets. In my job, I see plenty of people who are keeping up with the Joneses. You know they've got a brand-new car and all these costs and living the life but they're essentially people of straw. So the one key thing that I'd be saying, is buy assets. But getting back to the first point, you need a really good advisor and I've been working with Karl Bower for quite a while..
KB: This is not an ad!
DD: Okay this is not an ad! Sorry, we’re ABC. But essentially, it comes down to having good advisors and people who you can trust. People who you can relate too, people who you can get on the phone and have a chat too.
KB: Great, excellent, thanks for your time.
DD: No worries mate. Go Pies!
KB: Let’s hope so!