Top 10 Advantages of Estate Planning

Estate Planning

Estate planning can be a daunting task yet doing so is essential for protecting your loved ones and managing your assets after you pass away. Without an estate plan in place, your estate could be subject to excessive taxes and legal fees, or even end up in the wrong hands.

Fortunately, there are numerous advantages of estate planning that outweigh the effort and cost of creating a plan. From the peace of mind, it offers to avoiding probate costs and protecting family members, estate planning provides countless benefits that make it one of the most beneficial financial strategies possible. In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 advantages of estate planning and discuss why acting now is essential. Let’s get started!

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is the process of creating a plan for how your assets will be managed and transferred after you have passed. It can be as simple or complex as you want, but at its core, estate planning is about making sure your wishes are carried out and your loved ones are taken care of.

Who Needs Estate Planning?

Estate planning is not just for the wealthy. Everyone can benefit from having a plan in place for what will happen to their assets after they pass away. Without a plan, your loved ones will have to make difficult decisions about your finances and property at a time when they are already grieving. An estate plan can help you avoid probate, minimize taxes, and protect your family’s financial future.

What is Probate?

Probate is the legal process of settling an estate. If you die without a will or trust, your estate will go through probate and your assets will be distributed according to state law. This can be a long and expensive process, and it gives creditors an opportunity to make claims against your estate.

How Can I Avoid Probate?

One way to avoid probate is to create a revocable living trust. With this type of trust, you can name yourself as the trustee and transfer ownership of your assets into the trust. When you die, the trust becomes irrevocable, and your assets are distributed according to your wishes—without going through probate.

The Top 10 Advantages of Estate Planning

Avoiding probate:

Probate is the legal process of distributing a person’s assets after their death. By creating a will or trust, you can ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and avoid the time-consuming and costly probate process.

Protecting your assets:

Estate planning allows you to protect your assets from creditors, lawsuits, and taxes. By creating a trust, for example, you can transfer assets to your beneficiaries without them having to go through probate or paying estate taxes.

Providing for loved ones:

Estate planning allows you to provide for your loved ones, both financially and emotionally. You can ensure that your children are taken care of if something happens to you and that your partner is provided for in the event of your death.

Planning for incapacity:

Estate planning also allows you to plan for the possibility of becoming incapacitated. By creating a power of attorney, you can appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so.

Minimizing taxes:

Estate planning can help minimize taxes on your estate. By creating a trust or taking advantage of other tax-saving strategies, you can reduce the amount of taxes that your beneficiaries will have to pay.

Charitable giving:

Estate planning allows you to make charitable donations and leave a lasting legacy. By creating a charitable trust, you can ensure that your charitable donations continue after your death.

Business Succession Planning:

If you own a business, estate planning can be used to plan for the future of your business after your death or incapacity. This includes identifying successors, transferring ownership, and providing for key employees.


Estate planning allows you to keep your financial affairs private. This can be important if you want to keep your assets and financial information out of the public eye.

Peace of mind:

Estate planning can provide peace of mind knowing that your loved ones and assets are taken care of in the event of your death.


Estate planning is a flexible process that can be changed as your life and circumstances change. This allows you to adjust as needed to ensure that your plan continues to meet your needs.

In conclusion, Estate planning is an important part of your financial plan and can help you protect the assets that are most important to you. With a comprehensive estate plan, you can ensure that your wishes will be carried out after you pass away, provide for those who depend on you financially, make sure your family avoids costly probate fees, and more. We hope our list of the top 10 advantages of estate planning has helped to clarify why it is so important for every adult to have one in place.

To set up an Estate Plan, talk to ARM Trustees TRUST ADVISOR today.

Navigating The Stock Market: Why Research Is A Must Before Investing

It’s no secret that the stock market can be a tricky and intimidating place to navigate. But with lots of practice and research, it can be made much simpler and less overwhelming. In this article, we’ll explore why researching is an essential step before investing in stocks, how to go about doing it, and how you can use your findings to make smarter decisions.

What is the Stock Market?

The stock market refers to the collection of markets where stocks (pieces of ownership in businesses) are traded between investors. It usually refers to the exchanges where stocks and other securities are bought and sold. The stock market can be used to measure the performance of a whole economy, or particular sectors of it.

There are two main types of stock markets: primary markets and secondary markets. In a primary market, new issues are first offered to the public through an initial public offering (IPO). After an IPO, shares trade on a secondary market. The supply and demand of shares on the secondary market sets the price.

Investors use the stock market to buy and sell investments including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). When you buy or sell these investments, you’re participating in the stock market. You can do this through a brokerage firm like ARM Securities or by working with a financial advisor.

Benefits of Researching Before Investing

There are a ton of benefits to researching before investing in the stock market!

  • First and foremost, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about which stocks to buy and sell.
  • Secondly, you’ll be able to develop a solid investment strategy that suits your individual goals and needs.
  • Thirdly, by keeping up with research you’ll be able to identify potential red flags or warning signs about certain stocks before making any big decisions.
  • Finally, staying informed about the stock market will help you avoid common mistakes that novice investors often make.

What to Research Before Investing?

When it comes to stock market investing, research is a must. There are a number of things you should research before making any investment decisions, including:

The company: Make sure you understand the business model of the company and its financials. You can find this information on the company website and in its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The industry: It’s also important to understand the industry in which the company operates. This will give you a better idea of the competitive landscape and potential risks and opportunities for the company.

The markets: Keep an eye on general market trends, as well as specific trends within the industry or sector. This will help you identify both short-term and long-term opportunities and threats for your investment.

Your own risk tolerance: Be honest with yourself about how much risk you’re comfortable taking on. This will help you choose investments that are align with your goals and risk tolerance.

Strategies for Researching Companies

Before investing in any company, it is important to do your research. There are a few different strategies you can use to research companies so that you can make the most informed decision possible.

Read annual reports:

These will give you an overview of the company’s financial situation and health. It is important to understand a company’s financials before investing so that you can assess the riskiness of the investment.

Read news articles about the company:

This will keep you up-to-date on any major developments or newsworthy events happening with the company. You can also get a sense of analyst sentiment by reading what experts are saying about the stock.

Talk to people who are familiar with the company:

If you know anyone who works for or has invested in the company, they may be able to provide you with valuable insights. Talking to people who are knowledgeable about the company can help give you a more well-rounded view of it.

Investing in the stock market can be a lucrative opportunity, but it comes with its own set of risks. The best way to mitigate these risks is through thorough research and understanding of the market before you begin investing your hard-earned money. While making informed decisions may take time, remember that there really isn’t any shortcut to successful investing – knowledge and careful planning are key components when navigating the stock market. Invest wisely and good luck!

7 Things A Valid Will Cannot Control

legal will cannot—and thus does not—control everything. When it comes to estate planning, there are several types of documents that already name your designated beneficiaries. Thus, your will does not control:

1)  Who receives your life insurance proceeds. If you’ve designated a beneficiary, the beneficiary gets the life insurance no matter what you may state in your will. If you have a change of heart, you should change the beneficiary with your life insurer.

2) Who receives money from your retirement accounts. These act like life insurance proceeds. Whoever you’ve designated as your beneficiaries will get the money from the retirement accounts despite what your will may say.

3) Joint checking and bank accounts. These go to the survivor, even if the will says something else.

4) Joint real property. If you have real estate held jointly as tenants in common with the right of survivorship, the surviving party receives the property despite what the will says.

5) Joint property, such as cars. If there are two names on the vehicle title, the survivor gets the car.

6) Assets you’ve put into a living trust. You may want to consider having a living trust in addition to a will. A living trust avoids the probate process and allows beneficiaries to receive your property faster. Discuss your options with an estate planning attorney.

7) If your will is going to be contested. People who expected to inherit from you and did not, or who are not satisfied with their share, may contest your will. As long as you made a valid will and it was reviewed by an attorney, in most cases your will should withstand the challenge. In some cases, however, it will not, and then it’s up to the probate court to decide.

A will is an important instrument, but it must be valid or your property will be divided as if you had died without having a will in place.

As noted above, the formalities required for a valid will vary in each state. Check with an estate planning attorney to make sure your will has been properly prepared.

If you don’t want joint property or life insurance to go to certain beneficiaries, discuss this with an estate planning attorney so you can change your beneficiaries and joint property now before it’s too late to do anything about it.

Writing a Will is easy and simple. Contact ARM Trustees to get started with Easy Will


Powers of attorney are voluntary delegations of authority by the principal to the agent. The principal has not given up his or her own power to do these same functions, but rather has granted legal authority to the agent to perform various tasks on the principal’s behalf.

A comprehensive power of attorney ensures someone you trust will be in charge of important decisions and tasks, from paying bills to monitoring health care, and is a crucial part of long term planning.

Having covered the explanation of what a durable power of attorney is, here are the top 10 benefits of having a comprehensive power of attorney.

Provides the ability to choose who will make decisions for you (rather than a court).

If someone has signed a power of attorney and later becomes incapacitated and unable to make decisions, the agent named can step into the shoes of the incapacitated person and make important financial decisions. Without a power of attorney, a guardianship or conservatorship may need to be established, and can be very expensive.

Avoids the necessity of a guardianship or conservatorship.

Someone who does not have a comprehensive power of attorney at the time they become incapacitated would have no alternative but to have someone else petition the court to appoint a guardian or conservator. The court will choose who is appointed to manage the financial and/or health affairs of the incapacitated person, and the court will continue to monitor the situation as long as the incapacitated person is alive. While not only a costly process, another detriment is the fact that the incapacitated person has no input in who will be appointed to serve.

Provides family members a good opportunity to discuss wishes and desires.

There is much thought and consideration that goes into the creation of a comprehensive power of attorney. One of the most important decisions is who will serve as the agent. When a parent or loved one makes the decision to sign a power of attorney, it is a good opportunity for the parent to discuss wishes and expectations with the family and, in particular, the person named as agent in the power of attorney.

The more comprehensive the power of attorney, the better.

As people age, their needs change and their power of attorney should reflect that. Seniors have concerns about long-term care, applying for government benefits to pay for care, as well as choosing the proper care providers. Without allowing the agent to perform these tasks and more, precious time and money may be wasted.

Prevents questions about principal’s intent.

Many of us have read about court battles over a person’s intent once that person has become incapacitated. A well-drafted power of attorney, along with other health care directives, can eliminate the need for family members to argue or disagree over a loved one’s wishes. Once written down, this document is excellent evidence of their intent and is difficult to dispute.

Prevents delays in asset protection planning.

A comprehensive power of attorney should include all of the powers required to do effective asset protection planning. If the power of attorney does not include a specific power, it can greatly dampen the agent’s ability to complete the planning and could result in thousands of dollars lost. While some powers of attorney seem long, it is necessary to include all of the powers necessary to carry out proper planning.

Protects the agent from claims of financial abuse.

Comprehensive powers of attorney often allow the agent to make substantial gifts to self or others in order to carry out asset protection planning objectives. Without the power of attorney authorizing this, the agent (often a family member) could be at risk for financial abuse allegations.

Allows agents to talk to other agencies.

An agent under a power of attorney is often in the position of trying to reconcile bank charges, make arrangements for health care, engage professionals for services to be provided to the principal, and much more. Without a comprehensive power of attorney giving authority to the agent, many companies will refuse to disclose any information or provide services to the incapacitated person. This can result in a great deal of frustration on the part of the family, as well as lost time and money.

Provides peace of mind for everyone involved.

Taking the time to sign a power of attorney lessens the burden on family members who would otherwise have to go to court to get authority for performing basic tasks, like writing a check or arranging for home health services. Knowing this has been taken care of in advance is of great comfort to families.

How to set up a Power of Attorney using ARM Trustees Incap Solutions

What is Incap Solutions?

Incap Solutions is a service which enables you to plan for the “in-between” situations whereby an individual is temporarily or permanently incapacitated and is unable to make personal medical decisions or financial decisions.

Incap Solutions employs the use of Medical and Financial Power of Attorney.

A power of attorney is an important estate planning tool through which a person (often known as the principal, grantor or donor) grants certain powers to another person known as the agent, donee or attorney-in-fact. While executing a power of attorney (otherwise known as the POA), the principal could determine the magnitude of power to be granted to the attorney-in-fact, by either authorizing the attorney to deal with only a particular subject matter relating to the principal (a specific power of attorney) or to handle most/all of the principal’s matters (a general power of attorney).

Typically, a power of attorney would terminate upon the death of the principal, there are cases whereby the principal is neither dead nor functional. A Durable power of attorney would be useful in such instances where the principal becomes incapacitated.

To set up an Incap Solutions, please visit here

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3 Smart Ways to Give Your Child/Ward The Best Education

Imagine the smile on the face of your child, looking directly at you, and wearing that beautiful school graduation gown- That look is priceless! One of the ultimate goals of most parents is to give their children/wards the best of education. The best education to an extent adds the icing on the cake to the parenting career.  Sadly factors such as rising school fees, inflation, and general economic situation of a country always pose as obstacles to this great plan that parents have for their children.

Despite these factors, it is still possible to give your children the best education if well planned. We have listed 3 smarts ways every parent can plan for their children’s education, to guarantee them seeing their children in the beautiful graduation gown.

Start early

Planning for your child’s education is a long-term financial goal. The best time to start planning for your child’s future needs is when he or she is born. Assuming your child will go to the University at the age of 18, you will have nearly two decades to create the right-sized fund for your child’s need. The effect of compounded growth will allow you to achieve this goal with small, monthly contributions.

Diligently choose the right school

Children will mostly likely spend more time in school than at home, parents should be diligent when choosing a school for their children/ward.

The type of school a child/ward goes will have a great impact in the life of the child/ward. Before you settle for a school, you should consider the vision, mission and culture of the school to see if it they align with what you want for your child. You also need to fact check from people associated with that school, such as parents who already have their children enrolled in that school to hear what they have to say about the school

Set up an EduTrust

An edutrust is a legal agreement where money is put aside for the sole purpose of educating the children, irrespective of whatever, untold events the future holds.  It is aimed at assisting parents and guardians in securing uninterrupted education for their child(ren) or ward(s).

As a parent, this trust enables you to provide for the education of named beneficiaries. The standard, level of education is determined by you, subject to adequacy of funds in the Trust account. The Trust can comprise of a lifestyle component to provide for other needs of beneficiaries such as vacations, excursions, school trips etc.

We will love to celebrate you and your kids as they graduate from their dream schools. Get started on making that graduation smile a reality today by setting up  an education trust for your child here

What Exactly Does Next of Kin Mean?

You most likely do not need to think about it anymore, you already know whose name to write every time you are required to name your Next of Kin. But have you ever thought about it? When you name a person Next of Kin, how much authority are you giving to that person, what should you expect of them, what are they empowered to do?

What exactly does ‘Next of Kin’ mean?

The term “Next of kin” refers to your nearest relation according to law, someone to be called upon in case of any eventuality. A next of kin can be a spouse, child or relation. It should however be noted that a next of kin is not necessarily the person intended as direct beneficiary of the deceased’s estate or entitlement.

Your ‘Next of Kin’ is

  • The first contact point if anything happens to you
  • Empowered to make decisions for you in times of emergency, where you are not readily available or able to make the decisions yourself.
  • Empowered to provide necessary information about you where needed such as confirming your identity
  • Positioned to make medical decisions such as providing consent for a medical procedure

Your ‘Next of Kin’ is NOT

  • In any way entitled to inherit your estate if anything happens to you
  • Automatically qualified to inherit your wealth
  • Superior to the beneficiaries named in a Will
  • Exempted from the legal processes and laws of inheritance

What can the ‘Next of Kin’ do in case of demise?

Regarding demise and claim of the deceased’s estate, the Next of Kin does not really have legal authority. At best, he or she can ensure that necessary steps are taken towards obtaining letter of administration from the probate.

The way to secure your estate and decide who gets what is to set up a Will or a Trust. Your Pension funds for instance will not be automatically transferred to your next of kin, except he/she is named as beneficiary in your RSA Will. Where there is no RSA Will, the next of Kin mentioned in the Pension Fund Account or any other relation legally recognized must secure grant of probate in order to access the funds in the Pension Account.

I Am Young, Do I Need A Will?

Who needs a Will when they’re young?

Ever struggled with the idea of creating a Will? This article is for you.

For most young persons, writing a Will is for “old people.” It is stuff they shouldn’t bother with because why think about death when they still have their whole life ahead of them?

Let’s dive into this:

What’s a Will?

A Will is a legal document that explains how your assets get distributed after your demise.

Simply put, setting up a legal binding Will helps you keeps your assets out of the hands of people you don’t like. Well…except you’re okay leaving your loved ones at the mercy of vultures. That’s up to you.

Who needs a Will?

Wills are not just for wealthy people or divorced people or married people. They are for ADULTS. Are you 18 years old, mentally stable, have acquired some assets, and have loved ones you deeply care about? You need a Will. Still confused about who needs a will? Read further here

What happens if you don’t have a Will?

Dying without leaving a Will behind can create trouble for your loved ones. They might be plunged into quarrels and emotional drama either amongst themselves or from external bodies that might want to claim your properties.

Secondly, your assets might end up in court, and the court will then determine who distributes your resources. This is called Dying Intestate. The person appointed by the court to distribute your properties is called an ExecutorThe Executor might be a person you don’t like or trust, and he/she might even distribute your assets in a manner that doesn’t sit right with you. Anyway, what can you do? You’re already dead! Lol.

Thirdly, without a Will, your legacy is left to chance. Let’s say you normally finance an NGO, or you have a pet; without a Will, those things might become a thing of the past.

Now to the favorite part, a Will enables you to give specific instructions about how you want to be buried or remembered. If you don’t like an extravagant burial, you can state that in your Will and your wishes will be respected. If you want to be extra, you can demand to be cremated and your ashes packaged in a bottle, so family members can take the bottle with them every vacation or game night. That way you get to be dead and still feature at functions. See?

How can you create a Will?

It’s very simple, can be created online and in 30 minutes. Again, there’s already a template you can follow, so you don’t need hours of drafting. When you’re done writing, you download it. That’s all!  This type of Will is called EasyWill. It can be done in your own time and speed.

What must your Will contain?

Your name, occupation, residential address, and date the document was created

You need to be clear that it is your “Last Will and Testament.”

List your Executor or Executors. The extra executors are called Co-Executors. You can also appoint an Alternate Executor. These ones stand in, if your first choice is unavailable or dies before you do.

List your assets. Everything you own should be listed. They could even be artworks, buildings, etc. The only assets you’re not permitted to list are the ones you jointly own because the co-owner automatically inherits those on your demise.

Mention your beneficiaries. Your beneficiaries are those who will inherit your assets in the case of eventuality. If you have pets or charity projects, nominate guardians for them and ensure the financials are discussed.  If you have kids, you can set up an Education Trust Fund for them. That way, you’re sure their education will continue regardless of your availability.

How can your Will be executed?

To ensure your Will is legally binding, it must be signed by you and witnessed by two neutral people. Their signatures of these people show that the Will is authentic.

Can a Will be updated?

Yes, a Will can be updated when you acquire new assets, if any of your witnesses dies, or if your marital status changes.

How should a Will be kept?

As a confidential document, it should be confined to a place only known to the beneficiaries and executors because it is meant to be confidential until the testator dies.