Estate planning is the process by which an individual or family arranges the transfer of assets in anticipation of death or incapacitation. An estate plan aims to preserve the maximum amount of wealth possible for the intended beneficiaries and flexibility for the individual prior to death.
Significance of estate planning
- Without an estate plan, one’s wishes may go unfulfilled. Family members may not get provided for financially as desired
- One can plan and provide for one’s probable incapacity
- Sufficient liquidity to cover one’s debts, taxes and costs of death.
- Can ensure smooth and orderly business succession
Various Methods of Estate Planning
There are various modes in which one can plan his/her estate like Wills, Trusts, Insurance, Gift, Power of Attorney, transfer of property and partition.
Each of these can be either singly or jointly used based on the person’s need and depending upon the quantity and complexity of assets involved. However a will is one of the tools most commonly used for its ease of preparation and execution.
A will is a document which ensures that the wishes of an individual with respect to his assets and property are followed after his death.
If a person dies without making a will, he is said to have died intestate. Then, the law of succession applies based on the religion of the deceased and its relevant law. In such a case the wishes of the deceased may not get fulfilled i.e the way in which he desired for the distribution of his assets.
However, estate planning through wills has certain drawbacks like a probate process which is mandatory in case of either the deceased was residing or one of his properties belonged to the metros. Based on this, an alternative means of estate planning needs to be adopted.
Points to note while preparing a will
- It is very important to note that though formulating a will is a simple procedure of writing down one’s desires in the way in which one wishes the distribution of assets, the selection of an executor of the will becomes very crucial. This is because it is the executor who finally ensures that the will is administered according to the deceased wishes. It is of prime importance that the executor selector is some one who is responsible and trustworthy. It is also important that a will must have been witnessed by two persons for it to be valid.
- It is not mandatory to get it registered and also not mandatory to have it on stamp paper. However both are suggested to add more validity to the will.
- It is always better to rewrite a will when you acquire additional assets since any asset acquired after a will is done shall be treated in the similar manner if the person had deceased intestate.
- A will should be reviewed periodically to keep it updated.
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This article is written for InvestmentYogi by Shweta Jain, Certified Financial Planner, IMM.