ESTATE PLANNING FOR WOMEN
Everyone has an estate, and everyone needs a plan, because having no plan is planning to fail. Estate planning is not only for the wealthy, it’s for everyone. Stop making excuses, you are not too young, too old or too busy to start planning – just do it, take that first step towards empowering not only yourself but those who depend on you. No matter how overwhelming it may seem, do it so that both you and your family can reap the benefits of your smart planning.
Women in South Africa make up approximately 51% of the population and have a life expectancy of approximately 5 years longer than their male counterparts. One size does not fit all and women have unique estate planning concerns. Women now more than ever before play a much more active role in managing and planning their families’ financial affairs as well as their own. Women are always taking care of others and put off getting their own estate planning done, often forgetting that in order to best take care of others, one must first take care of oneself.
“Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.” Estate planning entails a holistic approach to creating a map or life legacy plan which puts you in control of your property and the final disposition thereof upon your death or incapacity. The protection and preservation of property, provision for the continued care and support of dependents, mitigation of risks and liabilities, taking advantage of tax abatements and liquidity planning can all be achieved through proper estate planning.
Estate planning for women may also include speaking to family regarding their estate plans. This applies to all women – not only married women. Perhaps you are the primary caregiver to one or both of your parents – have you spoken to them and/or your siblings about continued care and support should you or they pass away?
The concept of estate planning and the associated legalese may overwhelm and confuse many but women should not feel intimated to ask questions and seek the assistance of a professional able to properly advise them on matters such as:
• estate duty,
• the deceased estate administration process,
• administration costs,
• the law of trusts as an estate planning tool,
• succession planning for businesses,
• the practical effects of income tax at death,
• the nomination of an executor, trustee and/or guardian for minor children etc.
The most critical and fundamental element in estate planning is a will. In the very least, each and every woman should have a valid and updated will. In the absence of a will, national legislation will determine how your estate devolves and this may not be in line with your wishes, not to mention the costly and other unpleasant practical consequences of intestate succession. So, to all the women of South Africa – just do it, take that first step and contact us to get your will and if desired, your estate plan, in place.