WHAT IS ESTATE PLANNING?

The following article is an excerpt from our September 2017 newsletter:

“In the world, nothing can be said to be certain,
except for death and taxes”

Benjamin Franklin

So, with absolute certainty we know we can plan for this event! In today’s world planning for death is only part of this complex and dynamic process. Below is a brief outline of the estate planning process:
An ‘estate’ comprises the assets and liabilities that an estate planner accumulates during their lifetime, and which they leave behind at their death
‘Estate planning’ has been defined as the process of creating and managing a program that is designed to:
Preserve, increase and protect an estate planner’s assets during their lifetime;
Ensure the most effective and beneficial distribution thereof to succeeding generations on death, and in accordance with their wishes
A common misconception about estate planning is that it revolves solely around the making of a Last Will and Testament, or the structuring of an estate planner’s affairs to reduce estate duty
Estate planning is multidisciplinary in nature and should consider an individual estate planner’s financial, economic, social, and psychological needs in relation to their estate, self, family and their beneficiaries
It is not a once-and-for-all activity. The estate planner should regard it as a process, with built-in flexibility

It involves the estate planner entering into a strategic exercise, comprising the following steps:
1.     Determining a snapshot of net worth – including assets, liabilities, and income

2.     Setting goals and planning objectives – deciding in advance what to do with assets and liabilities

3.     Deciding on appropriate estate planning tools – once the objectives have been set, deciding on ‘how’ to do it

4.     Setting timeframes – deciding ‘when’ to do it

5.     Execution – deciding ‘who’ should do it, deciding on the team of professionals to assist with executing the plan

Once an estate plan has been created it should be reviewed on an annual basis or in the event of a material change in circumstances of the estate. Feel free to contact us for professional advice in this regard.

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