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Succession Planning

Saving for your future goals is crucial, but what is more important is a plan to ensure a hassle-free transfer of your life savings to your children when you are no more. So, if you have done your bit of savings, it is time you carve out a road map for your assets, investments, bank accounts for a smoother transition to your legal heirs.

If your child is a minor, you need to put in place a mechanism to ensure your child is taken care of till he or she becomes an adult and responsible enough to manage his or her money. In fact, even in case of a grown-up child, some like to pass on the inheritance in a certain manner. This is where succession planning comes in.

THE INITIAL STEPS

Succession planning at an early stage will ensure that your children do not have to face rough weather while inheriting your property. The planning, however, needs to be done in a systematic manner. The way forward is to write a Will for all your fixed and financial assets. Nomination could also be a good starting point as it simplifies the transfer of financial assets. However, assigning a nominee is only a step towards a foolproof succession plan as a nominee is only a trustee who takes care of the fund in your absence till the legal heirs come of age.

 JOINT ACCOUNTS

It is better to go for an ‘either or survivor’ joint account with your spouse for your bank and investment accounts. Such joint accounts hold signatures of either holders valid to carry out a transaction. Having a joint account with your spouse nominating your child is a better way to ensure easy transfer of your financial assets as the surviving members get seamless access. If both account holders die, the nomination helps the child get imme-diate possession of the funds.

HAVE THE WILL

A Will is perhaps the most efficient way to transfer assets. It makes it easier for your children to get legal rights on your assets in the event of your death. You may take professional help of a lawyer to pen down your Will. A Will has to be made in the presence of two independent third-party witnesses, not aligned to any family member. Preferably, a Will should be typed, notarised by an independent notary and left with the solicitor.

Once you register a Will, you can only add codicils, i.e., make amendments to the Will, but cannot replace it. You can update the terms and conditions in the Will as and when the need is felt. It is better to write a copy of a Will and, every time you need to revise it, replace it with the new one. Keep the Will in a safe place such as a locker and make sure your heirs have access to it.

TRUST FACTOR

Creating a trust, too, is part of your succession planning. Doing so ensures both your children and the assets are taken care of and the Will is executed within the specified time. The ownership of your assets can remain with you as long as you live and, in the event of your death, can be allotted in the way outlined by you in the trust deed. You have to nominate your heirs as beneficiaries of the trust and specify what each would get. However, the most crucial aspect is to choose the right trustees. Trustees play an important role. Therefore, you must appoint someone you trust. He or she can be a relative or friend, or you can even take help from professional institutions. You can also specify how you would like the property or money to be managed in case the heir is a minor.

CONCLUSION

All your hard work in putting together your savings could become meaningless if your savings fail to make it to your children. So, plan well and help your children inherit your assets without any legal trouble .

Next To Come: Budget for a Bumpy Ride