Key Insights Into Estate Planning, Writing A Will, & Establishing a Family Trust

Sandeep Nerlekar, CEO & MD, TerentiaThe only thing certain in life is change' is a term often ignored until some life changing situation makes us think about the tenacity of life. As philosophical as it may sound, the only thing certain is death. We all plan for circumstances revolving around various stages of life and ignore completely situations that would arise in case of sudden death, incapacitation, or fatal illness.

As humans, we have a tendency to believe that we are either immortal or we will go straight from birth to death seam lessly. Every body is aware about contingencies of life. So we buy mediclaim policies to help mitigate health risks, various life insurance policies, term plans, retirement plans, pension plans but sadly we forget that in case of an unforeseen illness or death the surviving members are left struggling to figure out the math.

Life challenges like incapacitation, critical health issues, business risks, divorce, need to provide for aging parents, special children are common to all. While we are alive, we do our best to manage these circumstances but we fail to plan for these situations, which continue to exist even when we are no more.

People find innovative reasons for avoiding, initiating or executing an estate plan or even writing a Will. Having a well thought of estate plan is your continued contribution towards your family's well being. It's your responsibility executed forever; that’s what makes you Immortal.

Estate Planning: In layman terms, it means the Definition & Process of devolution of assets during your life time and post your life time in a planned and documented manner as per your wishes.

Will: In simple words,a Will is a document whereby a person expresses his desire as to the disposal of his property after his death.

Trust: A Trust in simple terms a legal and effective Estate Planning tool which allows an individual to plan and execute his wishes for the future generations.
Top reasons for not writing a will include:
• I am young,I don't it need it right now
• My Family is perfect, members won't need it
• Most of my assets are held jointly with my wife or parents
• Lawyers are expensive,and I don't know who
is the right one
• Tedious and time consuming process
• It is only for rich

Via a Private Family Trust structure, one can effectively devolve any kind of assets, movable or immovable or any other holdings at stipulated times during or after one’s lifetime

Why do i need to write a will?
A Will is the only way you can ensure how and in what proportion you want your assets to be distributed to the beneficiaries after you. It is not about the value of assets you have; it is about ensuring that your hard earned assets are passed on to your next generation hassle free. A Will can also be used to appoint a guardian to look after children until they can look after themselves. It allows you to choose a person - Executor - to manage the distribution of your assets. If you don't have a Will, your assets are distributed by a court appointed person called an administrator as per the Indian Succession Act. Writing a Will eliminates the hassles of the law having to distribute your assets to legal heirs if you die intestate (without leaving a Will behind). Writing and registering a will is as important as breathing, to ensure that you live beyond your last breath.

Do i need to set up a private family trust?
A Trust is a need based Estate planning tool and one must assess the need of requirement of setting up a Private Family Trust after due consultation with an Industry expert like us.Via a Private Family Trust structure, one can effectively devolve any kind of assets, movable or immovable or any other holdings at stipulated times during or after one’s lifetime.

Who should set up a private family trust?
• Individuals holding significant assets
• Families having many dependents or absolute nuclear families
• Families or individuals having cross asset holdings
• If you have minor children and your work life is very demanding
• Families having internal complications
• Individuals or families considering Asset Protection
• Situations where international assets are involved
• Provision for you and family in case of incapacitation
• Ensure seamless devolution of assets without legal tangles and challenges

Why should i set up a private family trust?
• Making Gifts: One can specify at what age and in what circumstances his/her intended beneficiaries can have them.
• Protecting Assets: If one does not want the beneficiary to have full control of them.
• Avoid Future Family Conflict Arising Out of Control: Appoint a professional to manage his properties without losing the control.
• Case Where One has Minors as Beneficiaries: One can appoint a professional administrator or manager
• Helping to reduce or avoid conflict among family members.
• Minimizing taxes and legal expenses associated with your estate.
• Wealth preservation for your intended beneficiaries.
• Assets that pass through Trusts are generally not subject to probate proceedings; unnecessary delay, expense, and publicity can thus be avoided.
• Trusts are confidential, tax-efficient and highly flexible financial planning instruments to provide for specified beneficiaries, during and after your lifetime.
Be wise, prudent, responsible, make an estate plan and be the guardian of your family forever.