Grange advises creatives to take estate planning seriously

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Grange advises creatives to take estate planning seriously

Thursday, February 18, 2021

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, is encouraging creative practitioners to take estate planning seriously particularly given the current uncertainties related to COVID-19.

The minister said that the pandemic has served as a “harsh reminder of our mortality and the financial volatility of the cultural and creative industries.”

Citing an industry-wide survey, conducted by the ministry, Grange noted that 95.5 per cent of the 320 respondents experienced loss of income due to the pandemic. The average estimated total financial loss of income for the month of March 2020 was $1.6 million for micro entrepreneurs.

“In fact, the Rebuild Jamaica-COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force Report (2020) indicates that the total estimated level of economic activity of the entertainment, culture and creative industries is $84.1 billion excluding economic activity generated from intangibles such as trademarks, music catalogues and images,” she said.

“I have shared these figures with you so that you may begin to quantify the economic impact of COVID-19 and understand the importance of estate planning in these most uncertain times,” she noted.

Grange was addressing the fourth instalment of the ministry's estate planning and pensions symposium for creative practitioners held virtually Tuesday.

She said that the staging of the events was born out of the need to provide Jamaican creatives with the requisite knowledge so that they can “put their houses in order” and is in keeping with the ministry's commitment to work towards a formally organised and data-driven entertainment industry.

She noted that the objective is to put entertainers in an informed position to make the most appropriate arrangements for their estate.

Grange said that the entertainment division of the ministry recorded the deaths of 19 Jamaican reggae and dancehall artistes between September 1, 2016 and September 1, 2017, an estimated 40-50 per cent per cent of whom died intestate or their families needed support for funeral expenses.

“In our culture, sometimes the subject of estate planning and will preparation is approached with varying degrees of apprehension. Some of us are superstitious and believe that talking about these matters may bring bad luck. I am here to remind you that by failing to prepare you are preparing to fail. So let us not consider these conversations as 'dead argument' or anything that will 'salt you up,' the minister added.

“We have to approach estate planning with the same importance that we assign to our driver's license, passport renewal or statutory obligations,” she said.

Grange said that the entertainment, culture and the creative industries “have been and will continue to be long after COVID, a significant economic driver of domestic and international growth.”

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