Why es­tate plan­ning is nec­es­sary

Jamaica Gleaner - - BUSINESS - Oran Hall

ES­TATE PLAN­NING is far more than ar­rang­ing for the trans­fer of as­sets af­ter death. It is a life­long process which in­cludes ac­quir­ing, us­ing and pre­serv­ing as­sets and ar­rang­ing to trans­fer them dur­ing life or af­ter death in the most ef­fec­tive way.

A good es­tate plan pro­vides in­come and se­cu­rity for you and your fam­ily dur­ing your life­time. Af­ter your death, it pro­vides funds to meet claims on your es­tate and pro­vides suf­fi­cient in­come and se­cu­rity for your sur­vivors.

To be­gin the process, de­ter­mine your ob­jec­tives. Do you, for in­stance, want to pro­vide for the ed­u­ca­tion of your chil­dren or pro­vide life­long sup­port for your spouse? Next, es­tab­lish how these ob­jec­tives are to be met. De­ter­mine if the trans­fer is to be made dur­ing your life­time or af­ter death, and de­ter­mine the form of trans­fer such as by joint own­er­ship, a will or a trust.

To put the plan in place, con­sult a qual­i­fied pro­fes­sional com­pe­tent to pro­vide the ser­vice you need if nec­es­sary. Ex­e­cute and sign nec­es­sary doc­u­ments, and in ac­quir­ing as­sets, reg­is­ter own­er­ship in the ways that bests meet your ob­jec­tives.

Be­cause cir­cum­stances change, it is im­por­tant to mon­i­tor the plan. There are many rea­sons: your fam­ily may get big­ger or smaller, your as­sets may gain or lose value, laws and pro­ce­dures may change. If it is nec­es­sary to make changes, then do so.

OTHER TOOLS

The strate­gies you em­ploy to cre­ate and grow your es­tate will de­pend on fac­tors such as your

age, the num­ber and age of your chil­dren, the stage of your ca­reer, your in­come and your as­sets. Know your net worth, save, in­vest wisely in things you un­der­stand, choose an in­vest­ment pol­icy that suits your abil­ity to take risk, and in­sure your life and prop­erty.

One rea­son es­tate plan­ning is nec­es­sary be­cause our lives ul­ti­mately come to an end and there should be some or­der in how own­er­ship passes to oth­ers. An es­tate plan lets you dis­trib­ute your as­sets ac­cord­ing to your own wishes.

It lets you de­ter­mine who dis­trib­utes your as­sets af­ter your demise, it re­duces the emo­tional, le­gal and ad­min­is­tra­tive costs of

set­tling your es­tate. It al­lows you to pro­vide re­sources for your most vul­ner­a­ble ben­e­fi­cia­ries and to pro­tect the in­ter­est of those who mean the most to you.

A good es­tate plan pro­vides liq­uid re­sources for ben­e­fi­cia­ries and prompt set­tling of debt and tes­ta­men­tary ex­penses. Al­though wills are com­monly used to trans­fer as­sets to ben­e­fi­cia­ries, other es­tate-plan­ning tools can be used quite ef­fec­tively to achieve the same ends more promptly and at a lower cost.

DIS­TRI­BU­TION PHASE

Life in­sur­ance is a good ex­am­ple. So are joint own­er­ship of as­sets, in­ter vivos gifts, and trusts. Of these, trusts are the most costly fi­nan­cially, but the risks as­so­ci­ated with some such as joint own­er­ship or the pos­si­bil­ity of a change of mind in re­la­tion to gifts should not be ig­nored.

Al­though the dis­tri­bu­tion phase is im­por­tant, pay at­ten­tion to the ac­qui­si­tion, ac­cu­mu­la­tion and preser­va­tion phases. If you do not have an es­tate, there is noth­ing to share with those who mean the most to you in life or af­ter death.

Es­tate plan­ning should not be taken lightly. It re­quires care and care­ful at­ten­tion to the pro­vi­sions of the law. Good es­tate plan­ning is no guar­an­tee that no is­sues will arise re­gard­ing your es­tate. For some rea­son, some­body of­ten tends to emerge want­ing some­thing or want­ing more, espe­cially af­ter your demise. With a good es­tate plan, you can ef­fec­tively scut­tle the desta­bil­is­ing ef­forts of such per­sons.

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