A DYNAMIC firm of chartered accountants – Altron – has come up with an innovative approach to estate planning that ensures the preservation of a deceased person’s wealth an
d at the same time assuring that the beneficiaries’ welfare is catered for, for generations.
The concept is premised on the need for one to plan for life after death and hinges on having a vision that transcends generations.
It involves ensuring that on death and beyond, the deceased’s acquired wealth is preserved and is made to benefit intended beneficiaries for generations.
Through the concept, Altron addresses pertinent issues such as planning for taxation, estate duty, inflation and income generation through the use of wills, trusts and other instruments to ensure that not only are one’s assets protected, but they are structured to generate more incomeand other assets.
Altron spokesman, Knowledge Mumanyi, a registered estate administrator, said the firm aspires to play a significant role in the development of the nation by empowering people to carry their wealth from onegeneration to another.
“As a nation, we have a duty to propel our children from our own level to the next higher level. We need to break the cycle where the next generation has to start in life from a point of lack,” said Mumanyi.
He said the concept was also introduced after realising that people were not aware of the taxes and other fees that come with death. Mumanyi said contrary to popular belief, the issue of estate planning does not start and end with the writing of a will.
” It is advisable for one to seek expert advice when planning for their estate. It is never too late to restructure your estate except of course when one actually dies. Ideally, the professional should be know-ledgeable in estates administration, taxation and finance to ensure that all aspects of one’s estate are taken into account.”
He said while Zimbabweans were a hardworking lot who strived to live a comfortable life, they lacked the art of proper and adequate planning for the future of one’s children and generations beyond. This problem is prevalent with both the wealthy and the poor with the consequences being loss of one’s assets and investments upon death. Often, most people who would have worked their way through school, college and work, end up owning their business but also fall prey to this weakness.
Many people have lost all their investments with the beneficiaries failing even to access bank accounts in the deceased’s name although they would have written wills, leaving everything to their spouses.
The real life examples bear testimony to the saddening reality of the ignorance pertaining to estate planning.
After the death of a family head, a family had to lose almost a quarter of the deceased’s hard-earned assets to pay estate duty, transfer and high court fees and other related charges, to add to the loss of a loved one.
They were required to pay the money so that they couldaccess the deceased’s businesses and funds. Suddenly, the family’s assets earned over two decades of hardwork were reduced by half within a few days and because within the family there was no one trained to run the business, the family essentially had to start again.
They had to endure the same pain faced by their father inlife because after all they were starting life – just like their father did – with nothing.
In the same vein, a father passes away leaving his family with a house only as his major inheritance to his children. Not having written a will and having married under civil marriage, the house passes on to the wife who later on marries another man with children of his own.
As time progresses, the wife also passes away, leaving her children to the care of her new husband. Not having written a will, the house now legally belongs to the new husband who in turn expresses lack of interest in looking after the children of the deceased.
The children will have to start all over again – just like their father did. These might seem like stories from a gloomy tale but these are real life everyday realities happening in Zimbabwe.
Altron’s timely intervention is saving many families of life-long and hard-earned investments through comprehensive and innovative concepts in estate planning which are premised on a great vision of preserving one’sassets beyond death.