Leaving a lasting legacy for those you love is ultimately the final gift that you will be giving them. Although it is not a subject that one likes to dwell on, your life cycle is just that, a cycle; and if planned properly you can leave a lasting legacy that will set up those who have been with you on your journey, for generations to come.
A pivotal part of your planning should include estate planning. Simply put, this is ensuring that your lifelong assets such as your car, home, other real estate, savings accounts and other personal possessions and policies are effectively managed in the most appropriate and financially savvy way during your life so that they can keep on giving after your life.
Estate planning is inspired by your life and plans generally consist of a will and other documents that are meant to provide a map for fulfilling your wishes both before and after death. Effective planning includes structuring of estate duties so that taxes are minimised, ensuring sufficient liquidation to cover all your estates financial obligations and protection of inheritance options for future heirs. This planning is not restricted to life policies, and all your assets will be taken into account by your advisors, such as wills and trusts as well as marital contracts and income tax.
It is important to remember that estate planning is so much more than just planning physical assets, but should also include:
- Provisions for your intrinsic values. Who you are and what you believe in are the cornerstones for your family and should be documented and included. This can include things such as your religious wishes, education choices and family values.
- Instructions for care should you become disabled. This is vitally important because you might not be of sound mind and your wishes need to be documented before hand should the unforeseen happen.
- Ensure that instructions for minor children are set in place including the naming of guardians as well as inheritance trustee’s.
- Trust planning for children who might leave South Africa to either work or live permanently overseas. Ensuring that your legacy is left for them in a protected trust in South Africa, leaves you and them with the peace of mind that they will be looked after, no matter where they decide to lay down their roots.
With the above in mind, an important consideration when undertaking the estate planning process is to set up provisions for the needs of any children who might have disabilities. This can be covered as a “Special Trust Type A”. and should this be relevant to your circumstances, it must be discussed from the outset with your financial advisor, so that it can be included in your directives.
The professionals at Maysure know and understand that to your family, you are their world, and because of this, their expert advice and guidance is inspired by your life. No two clients are the same, and no two clients will be advised the same. Your unique place in life, your personal journey, and the exact position that you are in on this journey will be taken into account, and from there all advice will be tailored and varied to determine the exact services we will offer you to ensure that your unique financial goals are reached.
It may seem like a daunting task to take stock of and financially plan the assets that you have accumulated, but death is not an ‘if’, it is a ‘when’, so doing the necessary groundwork now can reduce burdens of hundreds and thousands of rands for your loved ones. Some pertinent questions to ask your financial advisor should include:
- Do I have a will in place?
This is the first step that should be completed whether you have small or large assets. A will establishes how your assets are distributed and without one you will have no control over your wishes upon your death.
- Have I designated beneficiaries for all my assets?
This may seem obvious but ensuring that you have properly completed a beneficiary designation form ensures that your assets are transferred correctly and timeously upon your death to the person you have designated.
- Have I planned for joint ownership?
A pivotal question when planning your estate, jointly held assets ensure that upon the death of one of the named owners, the assets are passed on the joint owner without the need for laborious court proceedings.
Estate planning is essential to protect those you love, because without a plan in place, the negative repercussions could impact them for years to come. Coming to terms with our own mortality is hard and is usually not something we want to think about. However, if we want our families to be protected and if we want to protect the assets we’ve created, the earlier we start thinking about estate planning the better.
Let the Experts at Maysure advise you on the course of your journey, so that you are free to live your best life, with peace of mind that your legacy is in good hands.