Estate Planning- Plan a peaceful tomorrow for your heirs!

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Estate planning is a very important aspect of financial planning, and is often not given enough importance and attention; in fact even today many people are not aware of the concept. Estate planning is the process of planning your succession and the transfer of your estate after your death. Your estate includes all your wealth i.e. cash, jewellery, property, investments, insurance and all other assets. It is essential that you ensure the estate that you have built with hard work over the years is passed on to the intended beneficiaries, especially if something were to happen to you.

 


Estate Planning is the need of the day, as family feuds over the distribution of wealth are ever increasing. Not only does it ensure that your assets are passed on harmoniously with minimum feuds and court proceedings but more importantly it ensures that in case of an unforeseen event, your family is financially secure.


Estate Planning is a fairly simple process, you can start with compiling a consolidated list of your entire wealth. The next step is to decide who all you would want to inherit your estate, in what proportion and also determine if you would like a portion of your wealth to be put to any particular use like charity. You should draw up a plan clearly stating the allocation of your assets and intended beneficiaries.


Estate Planning can be done in two ways, either by making a will or creating a trust.

A will is a legal document, which states how and to whom your wealth is to be distributed after your death. It is the traditional way of estate planning. The will comes into force after death, and is then executed by an appointed representative called the executor. Though it is a very simple document with no particular format, you must seek professional advice to avoid any ambiguity and dispute in the future.


The other way of estate planning is setting up a trust. In this form, all your assets are transferred to a trust and are held by ‘trustees’ as appointed by you.  The trustees not only manage the assets on your behalf during your lifetime but are also responsible for distributing your wealth in an orderly manner, as per your wish, after your death. In India there are three types of trusts, public trusts, private trusts and religious or charitable trusts set up for specific purposes.


It is important to note that a will can easily be challenged in court. Thus if you have any doubt on the execution of your will, then estate planning through a trust is a more secure way to ensure that your estate is competently passed on, as it is better defined and chances for loopholes are very few.


If one dies without any will or trust, the wealth is distributed according to the law.

These days ‘Estate Planning’ services are offered by many financial advisors and even by banks. However, in India estate planning is perceived to be for the rich, when in fact it is meant for everyone irrespective of your financial standing. People need to be made more aware of this concept and start estate planning as early in life as possible.


Estate Planning is an integral part of your financial plan, it is a great way to secure your family’s future and transfer your lifetime savings comfortably. Go ahead and secure your family today!


By Riddhi Agarwal
The writer is working with FpGuru.com.


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