Who you are…will attract people like you to you. 


Welcome to our second May newsletter.

This is the week my new book was officially launched. It was pre-released via my website six weeks ago to give all your loyal subscribers first choice, but also to give the books time to get from the printers to the bookstores. It should now be available in all bookstores and I’m busy doing the usual rounds an author has to do.

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Upcoming Events

The next two weeks will be hectic. I have just got home after my speech in Townsville last night and am now planning my next event which is on:

Monday, 27 May 6:30 pm

Riverbend Books
Oxford Street, Bulimba



After that it’s off to Perth, with four events there. Full details are below.

Spaces are filling so please book quickly to secure your spot. 

Tuesday 4 June  10:00 am

Beauford St Books
Astral Ballroom Crown Perth
­Book Now

Tuesday 4 June   2:00 pm

Dymocks Ellenbrook
Boya Community Centre
­Book Now

Wednesday 5 June    11:00 am

Dymocks Joondalup
Clarkson Library
­Book Now

Wednesday 5 June    6:45 pm

Dymocks Garden City
AH Bracks Library
­Book Now


More feedback

The book launch was featured in the latest Brisbane’s Sunday Mail, where I offered a free book for the 10 best experiences from readers when they were winding up an estate. My inbox is now overflowing with stories, but I’m pleased to say that many of them are relating the same tales I received when I asked all of you for feedback before writing the book. It just confirms that the errors people make in the estate planning area are universal. These include missing wills, names that don’t match, lost documentation and long delays with big institutions such as banks.

What follows is just a small selection:

“My father left my 90-year-old mother everything (only their home and car). The unexpected problem was that, as Mum never had a licence, she had no photo ID. It was so hard to get that, but we progressed to the point where we thought the Post Office would finalise it, only to be told they needed to see her birth certificate, not required or even mentioned in the process to that point. As it wasn’t easy to get Mum out, only to have to do it again, that was a hard lesson learned.”

“The greatest lesson I have learned when winding up an estate is that carried forward capital losses of the deceased cannot be used by the executor to deduct from capital gains in the subsequent tax returns of the estate.”

“Australians born overseas must ensure that personal details such as names and place of birth are exactly the same in all official documents and cards of both countries. Migrants who unofficially add a hyphen to names or a Christian name, for example, have to be cautioned on this.  Another incident that complicates the execution of the estate happens when a family member doesn’t state the birthplace of a loved one correctly on their death certificate; for example, confusing Kuala Lumpur (a city) with Selangor (a state).” 

“My very thoughtful and fair-minded mother decided that her three sons should be joint executors of her estate, even though she was concerned about how the unruly and aggressive eldest would get on with his younger brothers and estranged sister in administering the estate. A big mistake! Don’t try to be fair-minded but think in practical terms about who would be the most appropriate and suited person. One of the sisters was not even on speaking terms with two of the executors. It’s probably better to have somebody outside of the family to act as the executor. Impartial, sensible and practical. The inability of the three executors to act together resulted in a less-than-optimal outcome.”

“A close neighbour in my retirement village needed to get her mother into Aged Care because she had dementia and was wandering from her home (which was located near a lake!) at night. The mother had been advised by her doctor to complete an EPA three years earlier when her husband died, and dementia was just commencing. However, son and daughter deemed an EPA unnecessary, because ‘we believe Mum will die at home’.  So they had to run the gauntlet of QCAT to obtain guardianship, which obviously took several months — and that was a straightforward application! Complex ones take a lot longer.”

“This is the greatest lesson I learned when trying to wind up my father’s estate when he passed. If you leave nothing but debt, there is nothing to fight over! My father had several girlfriends over his lifetime who all contacted me for a share of his estate when they received news of his passing. Unfortunately for them, he died with nothing in the bank. Funnily enough, they stopped contacting me when I asked them if they would like to contribute to the cost of his funeral!”

– Images from Wills, death and taxes by Noel Whittaker


Delays in starting a reversionary pension.

I have often talked about  a situation where a couple are living on the account-based pension of the person who was once the main breadwinner.  Usually on the death of the person with the pension, the surviving partner becomes the reversionary pensioner – this means the original pension continues to them. This doesn’t happen overnight; the fund has to be advised and certain documentation completed. Time and time again I hear about this process taking months,  potentially leaving the survivor with cash flow problems. The way to avoid this is to get your documentation right from the start.

I discussed this in detail with one of our largest super funds and they told me they can normally get it all done in about seven weeks, but the problem is the lack of paperwork from the executor. This is what they told me.

This is what they wrote:

“Delays are usually due to the beneficiary not providing the necessary evidence to revert the pension; for example, a death certificate, a marriage certificate, valid identification. If the reversionary is a de-facto spouse, shared an interdependent relationship or was financially dependent, additional documentary evidence is needed to support that relationship to confirm they are eligible to receive the pension payments.

We sometimes see further delays when there is an attorney acting on behalf of the beneficiary under an Enduring Power of Attorney. Mainly because it is a third party trying to locate the necessary documents for the beneficiary. There’s more documentation needed when there’s a representative e.g. the EPOA document and identification for the attorney.”

The whole purpose of writing Wills, death & taxes was to help you avoid the cost, delay and frustration caused by not getting things right. This is a good example.


Beating the death tax

I had a great time at the Palm Beach seminar last week, and it was wonderful to meet so many of you. One topic that attracted a lot of attention was the death tax on super. This is what I told them.

Even though superannuation has advantages for retirees by giving them the ability to hold money in a zero or low-tax environment, there are two major disadvantages. The first is the tax that is levied on any taxable component of your superannuation that is left to a non-dependent — in this context a spouse is always regarded as a dependent. The second is giving up control to the trustee of the fund.

A simple way out of the death tax is for the fund member to cash the entire superannuation balance at the time of their choosing and invest it outside the superannuation system. Alternatively, take advice about giving a trusted friend or relation an enduring power of attorney which will not be invalidated if the member loses capacity. Then, if death appears imminent, the attorney could withdraw the entire superannuation balance tax-free and deposit it in the member’s bank account. If you are considering this strategy, be aware that an attorney cannot do anything to benefit themselves unless there is a conflict clause in the power of attorney document. Given that the attorney may well be a possible recipient of the superannuation proceeds, a conflict clause is essential. This is a matter for expert legal advice.

Another way to reduce the death tax is by way of a cash-out and recontribution strategy. This involves making tax-free withdrawals from your fund once you have turned 60, and — provided you are still eligible to contribute to superannuation — re-contributing the money back to the fund. Because this recontribution comes from after-tax dollars, there is no entry tax, and it stays exclusively in the tax-free component of the fund.


A person aged 64 has $600,000 in superannuation — made up of $500,000 taxable and $100,000 non-taxable. They withdraw $300,000 tax-free and re-contribute it as a non-concessional contribution, on which there is no entry tax. This substantially reduces the taxable component. At the age of 67 they repeat the process, so by the age of 68 there is little taxable component left. Of course, as the money grows, the taxable component will start to increase again. When they are much older they can consider other strategies.

Often, for smaller balances, the tax advantages of superannuation are no different to the rates outside superannuation, so in some cases closing your pension or superannuation and investing in your own name can avoid such taxes.

Another strategy is to withdraw all your superannuation tax-free before you die. Now I appreciate that the date of one’s death is a hard one to pick, but remember that superannuation is nothing more than an investment structure that lets you hold assets in a low-tax or zero-tax environment. For most people, there will come a time when the potential 17% tax on death is much greater than any tax savings that could be generated by holding the money inside superannuation.

If you do intend to withdraw money from your super, remember it may not happen overnight. It is best to give the fund plenty of notice. If you have a self-managed fund that contains unlisted investments, the fund manager will require notice. This could be as short as seven days or as long as three months — do your research sooner rather than later.


From the Mailbox

“I write to sincerely thank you for publishing your latest book, Wills, death & taxes. As with all of your others, I have found it to be extremely interesting and beneficial. My husband tells our friends and family that he has been replaced by you as my new guru for all things financial.

Quite clearly this is true, as I am in the process of placing yet another order including a copy of The Beginner’s Guide to Wealth for my son and copies of your latest book for each of my five sisters. They will be the gifts that keep on giving for them and their families.”


And Finally

I can’t vouch for the truth of these, but they sure made me laugh.

Oh Dear !!

I am a medical student currently doing a rotation in toxicology at the poison control centre. Today, this woman called in very upset because she caught her little daughter eating ants. I quickly reassured her that the ants are not harmful and there would be no need to bring her daughter into the hospital.

She calmed down and at the end of the conversation happened to mention that she gave her daughter some ant poison to eat in order to kill the ants. I told her that she better bring her daughter into the emergency room right away.

Image by 8photo on Freepik

Early this year, some Boeing employees on the airfield decided to steal a life raft from one of the 747s. They were successful in getting it out of the plane and home. Shortly after they took it for a float on the river, they noticed a Westpac Rescue Helicopter coming towards them. It turned out that the chopper was homing in on the emergency locator beacon that activated when the raft was inflated. They are no longer employed at Boeing.

A man, wanting to rob a Bank of Queensland, walked into the Branch and wrote ‘Put all your money in this bag.’ While standing in line, waiting to give his note to the teller, he began to worry that someone had seen him write the note and might call the police before he reached the teller’s window. So he left the Bank and crossed the street to the NAB Bank.

After waiting a few minutes in line, he handed his note to the teller. She read it and, surmising from his spelling errors that he wasn’t the brightest light in the harbour, told him that she could not accept his stickup note because it was written on a Bank of Queensland deposit slip and that he would either have to fill out a NAB deposit slip or go back to Bank of Queensland. Looking somewhat defeated, the man said, ‘OK’ and left. He was arrested a few minutes later, as he was waiting in line back at the Bank of Queensland.

Image by 8photo on Freepik

A guy walked into a little corner store with a shotgun and demanded all of the cash from the cash drawer. After the cashier put the cash in a bag, the robber saw a bottle of Scotch that he wanted behind the counter on the shelf. He told the cashier to put it in the bag as well, but the cashier refused and said, ‘Because I don’t believe you are over 21.’ The robber said he was, but the clerk still refused to give it to him because she didn’t believe him.

At this point, the robber took his driver’s licence out of his wallet and gave it to the clerk. The clerk looked it over and agreed that the man was in fact over 21 and she put the Scotch in the bag. The robber then ran from the store with his loot. The cashier promptly called the police and gave the name and address of the robber that she got off the licence. They arrested the robber two hours later.

A pair of robbers entered a record shop nervously waving revolvers. The first one shouted, ‘Nobody move!’ When his partner moved, the startled first bandit shot him.

Seems this guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he’d just throw a brick through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the brick and heaved it over his head at the window. The brick bounced back knocking him unconscious. It seems the liquor store window was made of Flexi-Glass. The whole event was caught on videotape.

Image by benzoix on Freepik

Food Service

My daughter went to a local McDonalds and ordered a burger..
She asked the person behind the counter for ‘minimal lettuce.’

He said he was sorry, but they only had iceberg lettuce..
Yep, it happened in Surfers Paradise!!!

Check in

I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an airport employee asked,
”Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?
To which I replied, ‘If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?’
He smiled knowingly and nodded, ‘That’s why we ask.’
Happened in Melbourne.

When my husband and I arrived at a car dealers to pick up our car, we were told the keys had been locked in it.

We went to the service department and found a mechanic working feverishly to unlock the driver’s side door.
As I watched from the passenger side, I instinctively tried the door handle and discovered that it was unlocked.
‘Hey,’ I announced to the technician, ‘its open!’
His reply, ‘I know – I already done that side.’