Q. What does estate planning entail, and should you engage a professional to help you with it?
Samuel: A professional can help you execute your wishes, define your beneficiaries, and determine your assets and transfer them in the most effective manner, using legal instruments like wills and trusts. You can always do your will yourself but it’s a good idea to get help from an experienced professional who can help you uncover any blind spots.
Q. What is a will?
Samuel: This is a legal document that sets out your instructions and final wishes for your executors, guardians and beneficiaries. You have to be 21 years old and of sound mind to be able to do your will.
Q. What is a trust?
Samuel: This is a legal arrangement giving a trustee the authority to manage assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries. Many families have trusts so that they can continue to provide for minor children, elderly parents and vulnerable family members over an extended period of time.
According to a report published in 2012, a total of US$40 trillion will be passed down to the next generation. We are witnessing the greatest transfer of financial wealth in human history and the majority of that wealth will go to our children, whether they’re ready or not. I therefore recommend that parents with young children consider getting their wills or trusts done to ensure that their kids receive their assets at an appropriate time, when they’re mature enough to manage these assets themselves.