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Estates and Wills
Sunday, July 1, 2007
A will of your own

A crucial aspect of a client’s financial plan is the presence of a well thought out will. Liberty Life Head of Sales and Distribution at Liberty Life, Bobby Malabie, says many clients fail to realise that the two things are not mutually exclusive - you simply can’t have one without the other.

“This is because without the necessary financial plan in place; a client could make a number of clear nominations concerning his estate but if he has not planned sufficiently, there will not be enough money to fulfil his wishes,” he says. “They could also have a very good financial plan in place but if they have not set up a will, this can result in an intestate succession whereby a client’s assets are distributed according to law.”
To avoid this, ensure that you guide your client through a holistic financial planning process, which includes drawing up a will. Start off by getting a fix on what an individual’s assets and liabilities are, and then assess how he or she wants to improve their current financial outlook. This should be followed by focusing on how that wealth will be distributed when they die i.e. the formulation of a will.
A key means of assisting a client in this process is to point out all the options available to them and make sure the language that they use is clear and concise, so that their instructions can be easily followed. Also discuss questions such as: What happens to their minor children, who should have a copy of their will and who should be nominated as executor?
It is also important that clients realise that on average there is at least a one year waiting period for a deceased person’s estate to be settled, during which time the assets will be frozen.
“This means that the heirs to an estate could be rich on paper but exceedingly cash-poor in reality. Clients must therefore make sure that the interim liquidity of the heirs to their estate is considered during the financial planning process,” Mr Malabie stresses.
Liberty Life has developed a number of easy to use financial products as part of its wide range of offerings. This makes it easy for clients to nominate beneficiaries for their various life and retirement policies.  These policies will be paid out within weeks of the policyholder passing away, providing a welcome stopgap while the client’s family waits for the estate to be settled.

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:20.6 1st July, 2007
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