GUIDE TO DECISIONS YOU CAN LIVE WITH
ESTATE PLANNING IS A VITAL PART OF YOUR FINANCIAL WELL-BEING
WHAT IS ESTATE PLANNING?
Estate planning is the process of arranging for everything you own, minus your debts, to be dealt with in accordance with your wishes upon your death. The first step is writing a Will that documents your instructions. There is a common misconception that estate planning is just for the wealthy, the elderly or people with large families. A well-prepared estate plan should be a priority of every adult, regardless of age, family status or financial worth.
A person or organization entitled to receive a benefit from the estate under the terms of your Will.
The person identified in a Will to receive specific real or personal property.
Any legally valid document that modifies or varies a Will.
Any person to whom the deceased was providing support or was legally obligated to provide support at the time of death.
The assets that the deceased owned or in which the deceased had legal rights or interests at the time of death.
The person or corporation named in a Will to administer an estate.
Directing assets to be held for a period of time on behalf of specified individuals or charitable groups.
A specified cash amount identified in a Will for a named recipient.
A document containing directions for the disposition of a person's property after their death.
WHY IS ESTATE PLANNING IMPORTANT?
Thinking about your own mortality can be difficult to deal with, and as a result, people often fail to adequately protect their surviving family. A professionally prepared plan can help reduce the applicable taxes and expenses of an estate, simplify and speed the transfer of your assets and ensure your beneficiaries are protected. Here are some of the ways an estate plan can be beneficial:
- It allows you to specify who will receive your assets including family or charitable organizations.
- It helps to minimize the transfer and death taxes on your estate where applicable.
- It allows you to specify how dependents are helped.
- It allows you to name an Executor who will see that your estate is properly administered.
- It improves your protection against legal challenges to your wishes brought by those wanting to contest your choice of beneficiaries.
- It makes the process easier for those left behind, at a time when they are most vulnerable.
THE BASICS OF ESTATE PLANNING
THE BIG SIX ESTATE PLANNING QUESTIONS
- Do you have the right amount and type of life insurance for survivor income, loan repayment, capital needs and all estate-settlement expenses?
Many estates have ample real estate and personal property but lack cash flow to support the income needs of survivors and the expenses associated with settling the estate. Good life insurance can protect against this.
- Are you aware of the tax regulations for your estate?
Transfer and death taxes can be expensive and complex. Your Sagicor Producer may be able to help you understand your situation by referring you to a tax or estate planning expert.
- Do you have a Will that specifies beneficiaries for your personal property and other assets?
It is wise to have a lawyer assist you with creating your Will. Even a seemingly simple estate requires careful and informed planning. Your Will can include legacies, bequests and more.
- Have you obtained the permission of, and assigned an executor and trustee for your estate?
It's an honor to be asked to be an executor, but it can also be a lot of work and bears some legal liability. Choose someone you trust and be sure to obtain permission. For more complex estates, it's wise to allocate money for any administrative support fees.
- Does your Will name a guardian for your children in the event of death?
This is an essential part of your estate planning. Be sure to obtain the guardian's permission and consider setting up a trust in your children's names so that your guardian is not saddled with the cost of raising your family.
- If you are part of a business partnership, do you have the required buy/sell agreements in place to ensure a smooth transition?
As part of a professional or business partnership, you should have arrangements in place regarding the distribution of shares in the event of your death.
COMPLETING YOUR PLAN
BE FULLY PROTECTED
With life insurance and a Will you will be well on your way to your complete estate plan. There are, however, several other safeguards you may want to consider depending on your life stage and family situation. These include:
Power of Attorney - This is the assignment of responsibility for decisions on your behalf should you become ill or incapacitated.
Living Will - This is a document that lays out your wishes for medical treatment should you be unable to direct the medical team yourself.
Post-Mortem Letter - This letter would contain information that will make it easier for your executor to carry out your wishes. It includes the whereabouts of key documents, deeds, papers and accounts and names your lawyer, investment broker, and accountant. It might also include information on who to notify about your death, organ donor instructions and details on the care of pets.
HOW YOUR SAGICOR PRODUCER CAN HELP
The rules and practices surrounding estate planning can be complex and subject to change. Your Sagicor Producer can assist you in understanding these matters better. Call 1-888-SAGICOR now, and see how Sagicor can help you.