You and your family have worked and played as a team, so it makes sense to ‘pass the ball’ of your financial achievements in the most tax-efficient way. Some families may only need a well considered set of Wills while others may benefit from establishing a Trust. These decisions pivot on many factors and the concepts should be discussed with your financial advisor.

Anticipating and arranging for the disposal
Estate planning is the process of anticipating and arranging for the disposal of an estate during your lifetime. This process typically attempts to eliminate uncertainties over the administration of your estate and maximize the value of the estate by reducing death taxes and other related death costs. Death costs could include executor’s fees and valuation costs. Death taxes include estate duty capital gains tax (death is a deemed disposal of an asset), and a final income tax return. However, the ultimate goal of estate planning is determined by your specific goals and may be as simple or complex as your needs dictate.

estate

Estate planning is an on-going process and should be started as soon as you have a measurable asset base or, the desire to structure your estate from the moment you earn your first income. As life progresses and goals shift, the estate plan should move to be in line with new goals. Lack of adequate estate planning can cause undue financial burdens to loved ones so, at the very least, a will should be set up even if the taxable estate is not large.

Some of the major estate planning tasks include:

  • Creating a Will
  • Limiting estate taxes by setting up trust accounts in the name of beneficiaries
  • Establishing a guardian for living dependents
  • Naming an executor of the estate to oversee the terms of the Will
  • Creating/updating beneficiaries on plans such as life insurance, RAs and Pension Funds
  • Setting up funeral arrangements
  • Establishing annual gifting to reduce the taxable estate
  • Setting up durable power of attorney (POA) to direct other assets and investments

The fundamental process regarding estate planning

  • Determining a snapshot of net worth – including assets, liabilities and income
  • Setting estate planning goals and planning objectives – deciding in advance what to do with assets and liabilities.
  • Deciding on appropriate estate planning tools – once the objectives have been set, deciding on ‘how’ to do it
  • Setting timeframes – deciding ‘when’ to do it
  • Execution – deciding ‘who’ should do it, deciding on the team of professionals to assist with executing the plan.