When people talk about estate management, the first thing that comes to mind is a Will, and rightly so, as it is a document that sets the tone and gives instruction for the management of a person’s estate.

But is it truly the only and best way to plan one’s estate? The answer to this question lies in several factors: the intention of the estate owner, the type of assets in the estate, the worth of the assets, and the custom and religion applicable to the estate owner. In this piece, we shall analyse the peculiarities of a Will and its usage, and the different estate management options which can be used as a guide in planning your estate. And just in case you are not ready to plan your estate, then the implication is that you are leaving to chance, to customs, to traditions, to family members including extended family, every single thing that you have laboured for, to be managed and disposed as they so please.



Three major objectives must be borne in mind in the planning of an estate. One is to reduce the assets in the estate that becomes subject of the 10% estate duty payable to the Government. The second is easy access for funding of funeral rites amongst other post-death obligations. The third, is to ensure that the estate is simple and easy to manage. A simple estate reduces conflict, as well as the burden of the executors or administrators in its management. A Will alone does not guarantee the achievement of these objectives particularly for a large estate.  A Will could be utilized in conjunction with other estate management options. The estate planning options that can be combined with a Will in the planning of an estate includes Trust, Gift, Life Insurance, Corporatization, Joint Tenancy, and Power of Attorney. These options serve different objectives, with the overall goal of reducing estate duty and simplifying the administration of the estate. Each option is also more suited for the different types of assets in an estate. Assets include real, personal, tangible and intangible assets owned by the estate such as; land, buildings, money, jewelries, cars, gadgets, art works, shares & stock, intellectual properties, pension, unpartitioned or unshared family inheritance, etc.

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