Many may think that they are not old enough or wealthy enough to warrant
doing any estate planning. However, if a person is over the age of eighteen,
no matter how small his estate is, it is advisable to begin the process.
All persons 16 years and older are competent to make a Last Will and
Testament, in order to determine how their estate should devolve upon their
death (where applicable).
- Where an estate planner is “at” in life, will determine his/her strategic plan for his/her estate, and which techniques to use in order to implement in the plan. An estate planner may be single, married, divorced, or separated. He/She may have minor children or adult children. He/She may be married for a second or third time, with children from previous marriages. He/She may own assets with a strong growth potential.
- Each plan will be unique and structured according to an estate planner’s own unique set of circumstances, goals and objectives, and reviewed regularly to take account of personal and legislative changes.
Who should be involved?
- The estate planner should work together with an estate planning team, which usually comprises a set of professionals, including an accountant, attorney, and financial adviser.
- The professional team should assist the estate planner with developing and reviewing his/her estate goals, providing direction on various strategies and tactics, performing cost-benefit analyses, providing advice on the tax implications of various strategies and tactics, and most importantly liaising with other professionals on the estate planning team.
- The attorney may assist with drawing up legal documents such as the Last Will and Testament and an inter vivos trust deed. The financial adviser may assist with ensuring the estate is liquid, and the accountant may typically assist with tax planning. Family members, more specifically, a spouse, should also form part of the team, especially where more complex plans are contemplated.