The tricky subject of a will

It is a fact of life that death comes to us all. The only unknown about this phenomenon is the time, place and manner within which it will take place. The winding up of an estate and administering the Last Will & Testament of the deceased can be a tricky and complicated affair. The recent tragic death of the pop icon Prince has once again highlighted this issue.

A very interesting article on “The Investment News” website highlights some of the complex matters that the executor of his estate will face. The executor of the estate of the Late Michael Jackson understands this point all too well. Michael Jackson’s estate is currently locked in a court Prince Picbattle the US Inland Revenue Service. The IRS valued Jackson’s name and image rights upon death at more than $430m. The estate estimate for this intangible asset is $2,015. The parties are poles apart in terms of valuing the future earnings potential of the deceased as at date of death.

Very few of us are pop stars and have as complicated an estate as Michael Jackson or Prince. But it does highlight the important matter of having a valid and up to date last will and testament that takes, amongst other things, the following into account:

  • Recent legislative developments and changes as pertaining to estate and tax planning.
  • Is relevant to the current value and nature of your estate and is not outdated.
  • The marital regime under which you are married, or not married.
  • Loan accounts with business’s and trusts that you may be connected to.
  • Makes provision for minor children.
  • Adequately deals with offshore assets that are subject to a different estate administration procedure.
  • Liquidity issues that may arise in your estate.

In addition, you should also adequately plan around those assets that are not governed by your Last Will & Testament. These would include assets that are in retirement annuities, pension, provident and preservation funds, as well as living annuities.

Even though planning in this sphere of life is not easy as it brings one face to face with one’s mortality, it is of vital importance that professional advice is sought and that your will is regularly reviewed.

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