Money, Investing & Personal finances - Business news

How to avoid a family fight over your assets

BATTLES over deceased estates are getting bigger and bloodier as blended families, longer lifespans, and rising property and superannuation values spark contested wills.

Estate planning experts say that a will alone is often not enough to prevent family friction, but there are other ways to make sure your assets dont end up in a financial fight.

They say battles over $1 million estates are common and theres a growing number of estates worth between $2 million and $5 million, and not just among the rich and famous.

Natalie Abela, an estate planning law specialist at Adelaide commercial law firm Cowell Clarke, says Australians may unknowingly leave behind a dispute that tears their family apart.

Super funds and estate planning benefits

Ive noticed a marked increase in claims and estate disputes over the past five years, particularly when there are defacto relationships and children from past relationships involved, she says.

In some cases, the biological children from a former marriage of the deceased feel they have been neglected and overlooked in favour of their step-siblings.

Out-of-date wills and a lack of communication are key reasons for disputes, and older Australians should also consider powers of attorney and advanced care directives, Abela says.

Merthyr Law estate lawyer Steve Grant says times have changed from 30 or 40 years ago when collections were common at funerals to help pay for them.

Compare that today in most cases the grandparents have still got a home and usually a bit of super. Even half a house is probably worth $400,000, he says.

The solution, Grant says with tongue in cheek, is only get married once and only have one set of children.

He says life insurance can be a way to send wealth to specific individuals, but policies become expensive as you age.

Life insurance is free of challenge because its a contract between you and the insurance company.

Communication about your wishes and your wealth is important, Grant says, but many people avoid such hard conversations.

There are also strategies available through structures such as self-managed super and investment bonds, and its worth getting good advice about these.

HLB Mann Judd Sydney head of wealth management Michael Hutton says one in two Australians die without a valid will, which means their assets are distributed according to a set formula rather than their wishes.

He says a good estate plan can reduce the likelihood of litigation by disgruntled family members, while testamentary trusts can be set up to distribute wealth in a tax-efficient and protected manner.

Testamentary trusts are only formed upon the death of the testator and can be very flexible or not, depending on the testators wishes, Hutton says.

Rich kids of china socialites splash thousands on designer goods and luxury trips abroad

A GROUP of wealthy young women from China are brazenly flaunting their luxury lifestyles on social media.

Even though the women have been warned by the Chinese government to stop splashing their wealth on Instagram, they just cant resist putting on a show, The Sun reports

The affluent socialites tend to be daughters of Chinese billionaires, enjoying the finer things in life and jetsetting around the world.

In attempt to reign in the young fuerdai, which loosely translates as the rich second generation, President Xi Jinping has been taking some drastic measures.

His strict policies include censoring the wealthy teens from reality TV shows, but hes unable to crack down on social media in the same way.

Despite President Xi Jinpings efforts, the well-off young women continue to upload enviable snaps of designer clothing labels, flashy cars and expensive champagne.

One of the women, AL, who has more than 5000 followers on Instagram, showed off a picture of a sparkling 16 carat ring with a gorgeous pink conch pearl centre.

As well as promoting her love of fine jewellery, AL has been known to proudly display bottles of expensive plonk.

Lining up some Grands chezeaux, a red wine that sells for a starting price of $420, AL wrote: Wine pairing night for homemade dinner ...

So far year 2004 tastes the best among all these babies.

Instagram user vickybabyswl is another Chinese socialite to attract a huge following, boasting more than 803,000 followers.

Last week, she posed beside a marble swimming pool clutching onto an expensive Chanel beach bag.

In another outlandish display of wealth, vickybabyswl proudly showed off three pairs of Celine shoes, footwear that adds up to the staggering price of around $6000.

A similar Instagram uploader, xiaooyii, posted five pairs of jewel-encrusted shoes, including some pricey Manolo Blahniks.

The showy social media socialite, who has more than 13,000 followers, also regularly shows off snaps of her adorable-looking puppies.

Its a major struggle not to get travelling envy when skimming through the snazzy holiday photos uploaded to Instagram by Weymi Cho.

As well as sharing photos of local delicacies and beautiful landscapes, Weymi loves posing in the lobby of expensive hotels.

Very much like the other young Chinese socialites, Weymi has built up an impressive social media presence.

The lover of luxury has more than 18,000 followers on Instagram alone.

When it comes to extravagant holiday snaps, Sian Vivi knows how to make everyone want to book a trip abroad.

From sultry poolside snaps, to incredible pictures of herself on a yacht, theres no doubt that more than 71,000 people follow her adventures online.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission.

Some wealthy Chinese students in the U.S. stand out for their lavish lifestyles. High on the list of musts: an uber-luxury car. Photo: Rob Alcaraz/The Wall Street Journal