• Friday, September 29, 2023
businessday logo


How writing a Will can help you secure your wealth

How writing a Will can help you secure your wealth

Not some many people understand they have a responsibility to write a ‘Will’, and in most cases, their wealth is lost when the unexpected happens. However, Funmi Ekundayo, expert and managing director/CEO of STL Trustees Limited during the maiden edition of the International Women’s Day Celebration of Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Nigeria Council, tagged SPE’s Women Leadership Lecture Series with the theme: ‘Women and Wills’ sheds light on the need for Will as wealth protection and creation tool.
Ekundayo, after the presentation advised Nigerian women on the need to plan their estates to help ensure financial independence, protect wealth and future of their loved ones.

With over 20 years experience in Trusteeship, Ekundayo said said, “Most people are reluctant to discuss will writing or any form of estate planning because of the stereotype that it connotes some kind of negative emotions. However, it is one of the most important ways by which people can secure the future of their loved ones.”
Estate planning is the process of transferring assets from one generation to the other through various legal tools such as Wills, Trusts etc.

“Of course, no one wants to die. But the truth of the matter is that death does not give any warning. As unpleasant or as emotional as this subject matter might be, the reality is that every one that is of adult age or that has started acquiring property or that has the responsibility for other people must start thinking about it. It usually takes a lot of courage to do this but having that peace of mind that your loved ones will not have to suffer or be stranded is the reason we are having this kind of discussion,” she further explained.

Reacting to whether a woman should have a will or an estate plan, she said the role of women in families is irreplaceable.

“Whether as a mother, wife, or daughter, women are usually the caregivers of families, and having an estate plan is probably the most important way they can secure the future of their loved ones. This is especially true for women who today are stakeholders in family wealth and have their own businesses and careers. They should take the right step to secure their wealth and make sure they are passed on to the rightful heirs and beneficiaries,” she noted.

Read also:Savings culture, wealth and pensions

Also, speaking on the estate planning myth that having an estate plan is not important, and that things will take care of themselves, she pointed out that our society is replete with stories of families that have been torn apart by disagreements over how a loved one’s assets should be distributed.

She noted that there are many stories of sibling’s bitterness when there is no guidance of any type from a breadwinner that has passed on.

“Also, there are situations where our banks have hundreds of dormant accounts with billions of naira. A lot of times when people refuse to have an estate plan, their families may, unfortunately, not even be aware that they have such wealth tucked away across different financial institutions.

“The issue of unclaimed dividends is also there. A lot of times when people refuse to have an estate plan, they leave such wealth with banks while their families struggle financially when the breadwinners are gone, not knowing that their breadwinners left something that could help them to continue to carry on with their lives. Then you should ask yourself if it is worth it to say that things will take care of themselves.”

Other common estate planning myths she discussed include: I will do it when I am old and only the wealthy need an estate plan.

“Thinking that estate planning is only for the wealthy is the single biggest misconception about estate planning. While it may sound like something for the “rich and famous,” everyone needs an estate plan, regardless of income, age, or marital status. Even those with modest means (or significant debt) still have assets like their homes, personal effects, and other possessions that must be distributed. For young families, an estate plan answers questions about who will care for your children per-adventure both parents die. For single or older individuals, an estate plan details health care wishes should injury or illness prevent you from making decisions for yourself,” she explained.

Speaking about the notion or myth of being too young to have an estate plan, she advised that it is better to write your will when you’re still young and mentally alert. “The truth about life is that no one is promised tomorrow. It is better to write your will or plan your estate when you’re still young and mentally alert before dementia catches as a result of old age. No one is too young to have a will or an estate plan.

Funmi Ekundayo, a consummate trust practitioner, has spent close to 20 years in the corporate trusteeship sub-sector of the Nigerian Capital Market. A lawyer by profession, she is passionate about wealth creation, wealth management, and wealth preservation through the instrumentality of trusts. She is presently the managing director/CEO of STL Trustees Limited, a leading corporate trustee company in Nigeria.