Estate planning and will writing, which is an essential part of estate planning, are important aspects of financial management because they give people and families a sense of security and control over their assets and legacy. However, in Nigeria, or generally in Africa, these important parts of financial planning are frequently disregarded. People substitute basic planning with faith that nothing evil can happen to them.
Some elderly people are often also reluctant to make proper plans for how their properties are to be distributed, often leaving their families in a chaotic state when they pass on. Estate planning firms often emphasise that anyone who has an asset has the responsibility to plan for how it should be distributed in the event of an eventuality.
In this article, let’s look at why many people don’t think about estate planning or creating a will, as well as the compelling reasons why they should.
The Why: Examining the Lack of Interest in Estate Planning
Cultural Beliefs and Superstitions: There are many cultural beliefs and superstitions that revolve around death and inheritance. Many people avoid discussing death out of concern that it may bring them bad luck or expedite their death.
Wealth Misconceptions: A lot of people believe that estate preparation and will writing are just for the wealthy. This fallacy leads to the belief that if you don’t have a large number of assets or a lot of wealth, you don’t need to make such plans.
Lack of Awareness: A sizable portion of the public is still unaware of the significance of estate planning and will drafting. They may be unaware of the implications of dying intestate (without a will) or the consequences for their loved ones.
Reluctance to Face Death: Many people, regardless of ethnicity, are afraid to face their own mortality. This psychological barrier inhibits individuals from proactively planning for the unavoidable.
Some Nigerians believe that estate planning and will writing involve complex legal procedures and significant fees. This misunderstanding prevents them from obtaining expert help.
Why Not: Arguments for Prioritising Estate Planning and Will Writing
To Maintain Family Harmony: Without a clear will, disputes and arguments over asset distribution might occur among family members. Wills and estate preparation ensure that your preferences are known and help prevent family strife.
To Protect Vulnerable Dependents: If you have dependents, particularly minor children or disabled family members, estate planning helps you provide for their well-being and financial security even if you are no longer alive.
Asset Preservation: Estate planning can involve measures for protecting your assets from creditors and ensuring that they are used for the intended objectives, such as sponsoring education or philanthropic endeavours.
Peace of Mind: Knowing that you have a well-structured estate plan and a clear will in place can provide you with peace of mind, allowing you to focus on enjoying life rather than worrying about what might happen if these papers are not in place.
Efficient Asset Distribution: Estate planning simplifies the process of distributing assets to beneficiaries, saving your loved ones time and administrative strain during a difficult time.
Plan for firm Succession: If you own a firm, estate planning can assist in ensuring a smooth transition to the next generation or a designated successor, thereby protecting your legacy.
To summarise, estate planning and will writing are not just for the wealthy or ancient superstitions; they are essential instruments for financial management that everyone should consider. Individuals and families can make meaningful efforts towards protecting their financial future and preserving their legacy.
Estate preparation and will writing are about more than simply money; they are about peace of mind, family harmony, and sound financial management.