Having an estate plan is one of the most vital things you can consider for your loved ones. It can help you feel more at peace knowing that your loved ones will be taken care of and that the legacy you leave behind is that which you desire.
What is an estate plan?
An estate plan is a means of managing and preparing for the transfer of one’s assets during their lifetime while minimizing bureaucratic inefficiencies. It also sets how you want designated persons to deal with matters pertaining to your health or financial decisions if you are unable to do so during your lifetime.
It may appear daunting thinking about this, however, it is highly recommended that you start planning early enough. Like the saying goes “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” as this can lead to unplanned difficulties for your loved ones.
Some myths around estate planning:
*Estate planning is only for high-net worth individuals.
Often times, people think they have to have acquired so many assets before having an estate plan in place. It is important to note that the size of your estate is not a deterrent into having a comprehensive plan. If you own things such as a car, bank account, retired savings account, stocks, jewelry, house, you actually have an estate.
You may also need to bear in mind that you can also update your estate plan upon the acquisition of further assets, so there is no real need to wait until you are wealthy to have a plan.
*I am too young for estate planning.
This ideology is wrong! As soon as you start to acquire assets and of legal age, you should start thinking of having a plan in place. It is also vital to have an estate plan if you have dependents as this is key in protecting their future.
*Once I have an estate plan I do not need to update same.
Planning is never a “once and done” proposition. As change is constant so is ones’ affairs, there will come a time where there may be significant acquisitions or changes, such as marriage, divorce, a new birth, new assets. It is important to periodically review and update your estate planning documents to reflect these changes overtime.
Estate Planning helps you accomplish the following:
- Preserve assets for future generations.
- Minimize taxes and expenses.
- Ensure that individuals you choose can make decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacity.
- Ensure all your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
- Minimize family dispute or conflict upon distribution of assets
Essential Estate Planning Tools:
- Trust:- A Trust is a legal arrangement made during ones’ lifetime whereby an individual transfers asset to another individual referred to as a Trustee for the benefit for named persons also referred to as beneficiaries.
- Will:- This is a legal document that sets out ones’ intention of how assets are to be distributed upon demise.
- Financial Power of Attorney/Medical Power of Attorney:- This type of estate plan appoints a trusted family member or individual to act as an agent on ones’ behalf to take financial or medical decisions when incapacitated.
It is best to seek expert guidance, to ensure you take the right steps towards achieving your desires. At ARM Trustees Limited, our in-house experts can assist you regarding appropriate steps to ensure you have a seamless and effective Estate Plan.
Reach out to us on our numbers: 0700CALLARM ( 0700276364243)
And email: armtrustees-PT@arm.com.ng