Death, being the morbid topic that it is, is not openly discussed often enough. The reality is that we will all die eventually, and sometimes we forget that the surviving members of our family will need to face life without us.

Ensuring your family is provided for financially is the responsible thing to do, and the earlier you start planning for that, the better. You've worked hard to acquire assets for your family, so you are bound to have some firm ideas on how they should be distributed after your death.

This is why estate planning is vital. Apart from ensuring your assets will be distributed to your beneficiaries according to your wishes, proper estate planning will minimise the taxes and duties payable at death, and allocate sufficient liquidity (cash) in the deceased estate to settle outstanding liabilities.

So a valid will is essential in ensuring that estate planning is effective.

Starting with advice is key: estate planning should be part of holistic financial planning. When drafting a will is important to have knowledge of the provisions of the applicable Acts. 

Check with your adviser that they have access to legal support to ensure your will is legally compliant. You don't want your family to face challenges to its legitimacy after your death.

KEY STEPS TO TAKE:

Appoint a suitable executor

An executor administers the deceased’s estate. This includes settling all liabilities and ensuring that the remaining assets are distributed according to the wishes of the deceased. Your appointed executor should be competent, impartial and possess the necessary skills, knowledge and expertise to wind up an estate properly.

Remember to account for the costs

How your assets are distributed (your bequests) determines your estate's tax liabilities. Various taxes and fees must be paid from the estate, including estate duty tax, capital gains tax, administration costs, and executors fees.

Consider your family's immediate needs

If there is insufficient liquidity in the estate, the executor may be forced to sell some of the assets to create the liquidity required. This could have a negative impact on the beneficiaries. One of the most effective ways to create liquidity is to take out life insurance that will cover a cash deficit.

Get the right advice

A properly structured estate plan will ensure that your estate has a tax-efficient structure that will benefit you during your lifetime - and your beneficiaries after your death.

Starting with advice is key. The time is now to secure your family's future. 

* Contact Old Mutual today about your estate planning needs on 0860 60 60 60 or visit www.oldmutual.co.zato find an adviser.