YOU'VE probably heard the expression "You can't take it with you," referring to the fact that you won't be able to take your money or valuables with you when you die. However, if you have a family, you should value building and preserving wealth in order to leave an inheritance for future generations.
As a result, estate planning is an important part of financial management that is frequently overlooked in conversations about wealth management. According to a 2023 study conducted by The Law Depot, 73 per cent of respondents did not have an estate plan. Furthermore, 72 per cent of respondents over the age of 75 did not have an estate plan. Without good planning, transferring wealth across generations may be a complex and emotional process, as death is not a topic most people like to discuss. In this article, we will look at the role of estate planning not just in protecting assets but also actively contributing to the creation and preservation of wealth. The aim is to encourage you to create or review your plan. Estate planning provides a road map for the smooth transfer of assets and reducing the likelihood of disputes. It involves determining how your assets will be preserved, managed, and distributed after death or in the event you become incapacitated.
Investing can help you grow your wealth over time and there is no one-size-fits-all model, there are a variety of approaches to creating, preserving, and transferring wealth. It is important to make sound investments that can maximise the amount you can pass on to your loved ones. The goal is to build a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, real estate, and other assets that align with your risk tolerance and financial goals. Furthermore, diversifying your portfolio's holdings can protect you from economic uncertainty and market fluctuations. In addition to asset allocation, I frequently advise my clients to have a joint holder, or two, this makes it easier for the funds to be accessed quickly in the event of an emergency.
Effective estate planning ensures that assets are transferred seamlessly, minimising the risk of wealth erosion and providing a solid foundation for future generations. Taking an inventory of your assets is an important step in estate planning. This includes real estate, investments, retirement accounts, life insurance, and personal possessions. Understanding the full scope of your wealth allows for more precise planning and distribution strategies. Estate planning goes beyond the drafting of a will, which is also important, and I recommend engaging with both legal and financial advisors who can help you tailor a plan that aligns with your unique goals and circumstances.
Another benefit of estate planning is that it allows individuals to strategically structure their assets to minimise tax implications. In Jamaica, where tax regulations may affect wealth transfer, smart preparation might help you maintain a larger amount of your assets for your beneficiaries. Working with financial advisors who are familiar with the local tax structure is critical for effective wealth preservation.
Estate planning is crucial for wealth creation and preservation, through proactive and comprehensive planning, individuals can ensure that their hard-earned assets continue to benefit their families for generations to come. As an advisor, I encourage families to collaborate with me to educate all beneficiaries about financial management, investment strategies, and the responsibilities that come with inheriting wealth. It can be difficult to manage finances, especially if you have never done so before, but don't worry, we are the professionals who can assist you! Using thoughtful investment strategies and a clear vision, you can leave a legacy that extends far beyond financial wealth -a legacy that positively influences future generations and contributes to the betterment of society.
Anna-Joy Tibby is the assistant vice-president, personal financial planning at Sterling Asset Management. Sterling provides financial advice and instruments in US dollars and other hard currencies to the corporate, individual and institutional investor. Visit our website at www.sterling.com.jm
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