What are assets?
The word assets refers to property or items that you own or have an interest in. These assets hold a financial value which can be sold and converted into cash.
What types of assets are there?
There are different types of assets but the most common include:
- Vehicles – defined as machines that transport people or cargo and so include cars, trucks, buses, bicycles and motorcycles, watercraft, railed vehicles and aircraft
- Property / Real Estate – defined as land or land with buildings on it
- Home contents – defined as items in your home not of a personal nature such as floor and window coverings, furniture and furnishings, white goods and electrical appliances, TV’s and electronic equipment including computers
- Personal possessions – personal items not considered to be real estate or home contents and have a personal or sentimental value e.g., mobile phone, jewellery, clothing, books, and photographs
- Business assets – an item of value which is owned by a sole trader, partnership, or company e.g. debtors, vehicles, computers, office furniture, or intellectual property such as trademarks and patents
- Financial investments – something in which you have invested money in the hoe that the value will increase e.g., bank, building society accounts
- Managed investments – this refers to a fund where numerous people have placed their money for a company to invest on their behalf
- Superannuation or pension – refers to money that has been accumulating during the course of your working life which will provide you with a regular income when you retire (stop working)
- Shares – refers to one of more equal parts of a company that a person can purchase. In return a shareholder receives an equivalent share of any profits
- Annuities – refers to a financial product that pays a guaranteed regular income for the remainder of your life or for a fixed term when you retire. It is different to a super fund as the funds are not paid out like they are from a super fund
How are assets valued?
The value given to any asset is set by the market value (i.e., the amount you would receive if you sold the asset). Generally, the value of an asset changes based on a number of factors including the demand for and supply of the property or item.
Why do my loved ones need to know about my assets?
If you have assets and do not write a Last Will & Testament specifying what you would like to have done with them when you die, you will die ‘intestate’. This means that any assets you own will be distributed according to the law and not distributed in the way you would have liked them to be. It may also mean that some assets are unknown and so will be forgotten. In Australia, there is currently over $1.5 billion of unclaimed assets in bank accounts, shares, investments, and life insurance policies.
For more information refer to Last Will & Testament and Unclaimed Assets
This is general information only and does not constitute specific legal advice.