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Do you often wonder about putting structures in place to keep your wealth safe? Or whether the structures you’ve already got in place will actually do the job you want them to? It’s easy to put this in the “too hard basket”. Not only are you too busy to look after your own affairs, you may not know what to do, how to do it, or who to go to for the correct advice.

There are a lot of aspects to consider. It can be overwhelming. But don’t wait until it becomes urgent, or it’s too late. The cost of inadequate or non-existent wealth planning could be devastating! Your Trust could end up being deemed a sham by the IRD, exposing all your assets. Your business could be targeted by a former spouse if your marriage breaks up. The list of consequences goes on and on. It’s simply not worth the risk!

When you put business and personal structures in place to protect your wealth, there are some key steps to follow:
1. Build a strong foundation

Before you do anything else, build a strong foundation. Just like building a house – if the foundation is wobbly the house will be shaky. It might even collapse! The foundation for your structures is the same. It must fit you personally, match your lifestyle and your circumstances and provide benefits to suit you and you alone. To do this you’ll have to identify your personal and business objectives, your priorities and core values.
2. Establish your direction

Now you can establish your direction. Then you can make sure that outside concerns match your direction, rather than your structures bending to fit with outside concerns!
3. Assess what you need

Identify all the things you need to put in place. These can include –

Power of Attorney(s)
Property relationship agreement (where applicable)
Cash flow paths
Taxation structures and levels

4. Form the entities

Now you can start moving on preparing and executing the documents. You might have to register some for tax purposes, others will need opening minutes, declarations of trust etc.
5. Establish the cash flow streams

Make sure your money flows through your structures correctly. Your cashflow streams should be simple and require minimal administration. This makes them easy to follow and maintain. Sending money through the wrong channels could jeopardise the safety of your wealth and the stability of your structures.
6. Establish the documentation systems

Just as incorrect cashflow streams can place your structures at risk, incorrect documentation (or no documentation) will too. Make sure your documents are prepared and executed correctly. Know what documents to prepare, when to prepare them, and where to record them.
7. Review your structures regularly

Time moves fast. Life is busy. Circumstances change. All manner of things will occur that you cannot foresee. This is why it’s imperative you review your structures regularly. Make sure they are still doing what you want them to do.

This can definitely sound overwhelming! Where do you start and who do you go to for advice? How do you know the advice will be right for you, and not tainted by the prospect of a commission or any other pre-organised relationship? These are serious questions. You want to make sure you get it right. Make sure you have someone independent alongside you who knows what they’re doing; someone who is only concerned about what’s in your best interests – not their own or anyone else’s!
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