Understanding Estate Planning

Having an estate plan is one of the most vital things you can consider for your loved ones. It can help you feel more at peace knowing that your loved ones will be taken care of and that the legacy you leave behind is that which you desire.

What is an estate plan?

An estate plan is a means of managing and preparing for the transfer of one’s assets during their lifetime while minimizing bureaucratic inefficiencies. It also sets how you want designated persons to deal with matters pertaining to your health or financial decisions if you are unable to do so during your lifetime.

It may appear daunting thinking about this, however, it is highly recommended that you start planning early enough. Like the saying goes “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” as this can lead to unplanned difficulties for your loved ones.

Some myths around estate planning:

*Estate planning is only for high-net worth individuals.

Often times, people think they have to have acquired so many assets before having an estate plan in place. It is important to note that the size of your estate is not a deterrent into having a comprehensive plan. If you own things such as a car, bank account, retired savings account, stocks, jewelry, house, you actually have an estate.

You may also need to bear in mind that you can also update your estate plan upon the acquisition of further assets, so there is no real need to wait until you are wealthy to have a plan.

*I am too young for estate planning.

This ideology is wrong! As soon as you start to acquire assets and of legal age, you should start thinking of having a plan in place. It is also vital to have an estate plan if you have dependents as this is key in protecting their future.

*Once I have an estate plan I do not need to update same.

Planning is never a “once and done” proposition. As change is constant so is ones’ affairs, there will come a time where there may be significant acquisitions or changes, such as marriage, divorce, a new birth, new assets. It is important to periodically review and update your estate planning documents to reflect these changes overtime.

Estate Planning helps you accomplish the following:

  • Preserve assets for future generations.
  • Minimize taxes and expenses.
  • Ensure that individuals you choose can make decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacity.
  • Ensure all your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
  • Minimize family dispute or conflict upon distribution of assets

Essential Estate Planning Tools:

  • Trust:- A Trust is a legal arrangement made during ones’ lifetime whereby an individual transfers asset to another individual referred to as a Trustee for the benefit for named persons also referred to as beneficiaries.
  • Will:- This is a legal document that sets out ones’ intention of how assets are to be distributed upon demise.
  • Financial Power of Attorney/Medical Power of Attorney:- This type of estate plan appoints a trusted family member or individual to act as an  agent on ones’  behalf to take financial or medical decisions when incapacitated.

It is best to seek expert guidance, to ensure you take the right steps towards achieving your desires. At ARM Trustees Limited, our in-house experts can assist you regarding appropriate steps to ensure you have a seamless and effective Estate Plan.

Reach out to us on our numbers: 0700CALLARM ( 0700276364243)

And email: [email protected]

#IWD2022: Break The Bias – Women and Estate Planning

We commemorate the World International Women’s Day 2022 with the theme  #BreaktheBias and this is indeed an auspicious one. Why? Because it is time we changed a lot of prejudices and preconceived ideas about women, particularly as it relates to estate planning and wealth transfer.

A bias can be described as a disproportionate weight in favor of or against an idea or thing, usually in a way that is closed-minded, prejudicial, or unfair.

In estate planning, there is a huge bias against the idea of women writing wills or planning their estates. In fact, there is a bias against the thought of a woman owning assets.

Very much prevalent is the societal stereotype that when a lady marries, she’s expected to support her spouse and raise children  despite a growing number of women lending their voices to the elimination of this patriarchal view.  It is believed that provision will be made for women from the husband’s estate while some religions do not permit a woman to own properties. The restriction on women owning assets have contributed to the increasing number of contentious estates and the women and children are left at the mercy of the surviving relatives where the spouse dies intestate.   In some States where certain repugnant practises are still prevalent, the wife might be relocated from her comfortable lifestyle and be subjected to a demeaning lifestyle with her children when her husband passes.

For the unmarried lady, who either by choice or happenstance has found herself single, stories abound of how she earned her wealth despite the evidence available that she works hard and is a thoroughbred professional. A successful single lady is expected not to show off her material possessions due to the belief that this will put off men that might wish to approach her for marriage. In some cases, these ladies acquire the assets in the name of their brothers or fathers. If she builds a house, she is expected to tell everyone it’s rented, she shrinks and shrinks, to prevent a suitor from being intimidated by her wealth.

If the prejudice against womenowning assets and transferring their assets to their desired beneficiaries can be eliminated, we will have a society that is more accepting of women. A woman’s financial status should not be used as a yardstick to determine how submissive she is or will be in marriage.

However, because biases can be conscious and unconscious some women are also biased against the same gender- it comes under the guise of culture, tradition and practices. Girls are raised to ensure they acquire housekeeping skills and nurtured to act right and speak well to endear them to their future in-laws.

If we are to break the bias, it will necessitate the woman re-orienting herself and choosing to be successful, while carrying other women along.

Who will start? I hear you ask, “you and I”, I say. The husband who becomes kinder to his wife and realizes she doesn’t need his permission to be great but gives it anyway because society had made her shrink. The intelligent woman who finally takes her brains and credentials out of hibernation mode and steps out and steps up, to make money and to write a will, so as to leave a rich legacy for her desired beneficiaries.

You and I will start the process, we will recognize the bias, we will boldly stand up to it and we will stop it. The good thing is that, as we break this bias, we are consciously showing to other women what is possible and giving them permission to break it in their own lives and societies too.

Cheers to women having conversations about wealth building, wealth management, wealth preservation and most importantly wealth transfer in 2022 and thereafter.

This article was brought to you by ARM Trustees Limited

Contact ARM Trustees via email: [email protected] or call us 0700ARMENGAGE (0700 2763 64243) Visit our website on https://www.arm.com.ng/trustees/

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