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Effective Estate Planning: A Legacy That Lasts

Where there’s an estate plan, there are happy heirs.

Bryan Hirsch




The Wikipedia definition of estate planning is deceptively simple – it is “the process of disposing of an estate”. Estate planning typically attempts to eliminate any uncertainties over the administration of probate and to maximise the value of the estate by reducing taxes and other expenses. This is something anyone who has built up an estate with assets wishes to do; after all this is the legacy that is left to the immediate family.

The idea is to protect it to the best of our ability while we are still alive and able.

Reasons to plan

Estate planning can be divided into five elements:

  • Protect the value of growth assets in the estate
  • Protect assets from forced sale by assessing the availability of liquidity in the estate
  • Reduce exposure to taxes such a capital gains tax (CGT) and estate duty
  • Limit estate expenses
  • Ensure the smooth transition of  the client’s estate on death

Many believe that estate planning is more about avoiding estate duty than anything else. However, it is so much more than that; it is an holistic process, encompassing all the relevant values of a person’s assets and liabilities at a given time. From this information, an individually customised and suitable plan needs to be developed.

An estate plan should also be flexible enough to ensure that future adjustments, resulting from such things as changing laws, financial situations and family needs, can be made.

What to look out for

An estate plan should take into account these aspects:

  • Your will; and, for the record, there is no such things as an old will
  • Any trusts (if applicable) and any relevant loan accounts
  • Life policies showing nominated beneficiaries
  • Liquidity required to fund CGT, executors fees and estate duty
  • All assets and liabilities and, most important, shares in private firms
  • Any sureties that have been signed

Efficient use of all available estate planning tools will ensure estate duty is kept to a minimum. Individual cases will determine whether a particular method is suitable or not. Most people who think that estate planning is just worrying about assets or minimising outgoings, should realise that it is more about achieving the goals set during one’s life and beyond.

Many are unaware of the available estate planning opportunities. Having a Will is just one part of estate planning. One must always ensure there is sufficient liquidity in the estate to meet any liabilities without compromising your dependents.

A trust is certainly not always the answer to everyone’s circumstances but before forming a trust or, perhaps, terminating one, I would suggest you talk this over with a professional.

A costly oversight

A colleague of mine often says that people spend a lifetime building up their estate, but how much time do they spend on preserving it? I read recently in the Glacier-Sanlam financial proposal that it is estimated that a person spends about 76 800 hours building their estate. If you do not spend at least two hours planning it, it could cost up to 30% of your estate in unnecessary expenses and taxes and your heirs and dependents may not receive what is due to them.

Estate planning is often overlooked when more emphasis is placed on investment strategy and the creation of wealth. However, estate planning actually forms one of the supporting pillars of a sound financial plan. Rich or poor, everyone needs to plan their estates. It can be as simple as drawing up a will in which all your worldly possessions are left to your spouse, or as complex as establishing a local or offshore trust.

Inefficient planning reduced Elvis Presley’s estate by 73% and because the amount paid is on public record, there is no truth in the rumour that Elvis is alive and kicking in Memphis. The last place I would want my heirs to end up is in Heartbreak Hotel. 

BRYAN HIRSCH has been in the financial services industry for 47 years and is a director of Bryan Hirsch Colley & Associates. He has written two books, the first Bryan Hirsch’s Guide to Personal Finance and more recently, Steps to Financial Freedom. Bryan has written for many of South Africa’s top financial and business publications, has been a weekly guest on Radio SAFM for 18 years, and has his own weekly TV show You & Your Money on Summit TV.


Personal Finance

10 Tips To Become A Millionaire This Year

Becoming a millionaire requires changing your mindset and implementing some changes.

Murray Newlands



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Becoming a millionaire may seem out of your reach, but it’s possible with the right attitude and guidance. The fact of the matter is your income can only grow as quickly as you do, so you need to change your mindset to achieve your goal of becoming a millionaire.

Once you have a millionaire mind, you can’t lose it, no matter what financial or business mistakes you make along the way. To get yourself there, you’re going to need some structure. To help you, I’ve outlined the top ten tips you should follow to become a millionaire this year.

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Personal Finance

If You Think These 5 Things, You’ll Never Get Rich By The Time You’re 30

Five common mistakes entrepreneurs make when starting a business and how to correct them.



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Last week, I had lunch with a millennial who wanted some advice about a business he’s starting. After the usual small talk, we got down to discussing his business plan. Within a short time, it was clear that his business idea was great, his plan for executing was fairly solid and he had gathered together a strong team to help him make it happen.

So far, so good. But, to be frank, this guy has no chance of being successful with his current mentality. What it takes to be rich (or successful in any measure) has a lot more to do with your mindset than your ideas and plans.

From the time we started in business at the ripe ages of six and seven, our Grandpa Joe taught my brother Matthew and me many lessons about the details of running a profitable business. Over the years, we learned about how to create a business plan; how to market our products and services; and how to take care of customers, vendors and employees. All this knowledge has been invaluable to us in creating and running successful businesses. But, what our grandfather taught us about attitude and mindset trumps all other lessons.

Without calling out the specific individual I spoke with recently, below are five “hypothetical” attitudes that will get you nowhere in your journey to success – and the attitudes that should replace them.

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Personal Finance

5 Habits That Lead To Millionaire Business Success

You need the right habits if you’re going to succeed.

Timothy Sykes




What do all millionaire businesspeople have in common? Well, a lot of things.

I found from a recent study that 80 percent of all millionaires still go to work every single day. They’re working people just like me. But, they have to keep themselves in work or it all grinds to a halt. So what are the habits you need to make your business a success?

1. Patience

Nothing is ever going to come easy. You can look at the likes of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, as well as the other usual suspects, to realize that success didn’t come with their first venture. Many of them failed time and time again. It took patience for them to become successful.

I read an article recently about 36-year-old teacher Andrew Hallam who became a self-made millionaire on a teaching salary. But, in his spare time he invested smart and lived frugally.

It proves you don’t have to inherit lots of money or become an instant success to make a millionaire business.

Related: 4 Ways To Become A Millionaire Even When You Start With Little

2. Dedication

You have to be dedicated to your craft if you’re going to become successful. Going back to Bill Gates again, he started his business in the back of his garage. Now that’s dedication.

It’s what I tell all my students. If they’re not dedicated to this, then they should leave. You need to be able to push through the barren periods if you’re going to reach the oasis of success.

3. Ambition and big dreams

Have you ever heard the quote, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll land among the stars”?

I take that to heart because even if you aim to become a billionaire and miss you still might be a millionaire many times over. Take the Wright Brothers as an example. Not content with creating a successful glider in 1902 they went on to create the world’s first airplane in 1903, making four brief flights in Kitty Hawk. It demonstrates the importance of dreaming big because you never know what you might achieve.

Related: 12 Millionaire Habits To Start Making Serious Money Soon And Build Wealth In A Hurry

4. Learn from mistakes

Every good businessperson will mess something up. It’s inevitable. What’s important is how you learn from your mistakes over time. Do you adapt after making your mistakes?

Millionaire businesspeople always set some time aside to reflect. Then they create a plan of action for ensuring that it doesn’t happen again. Most failed businesspeople put it down to “bad luck.”

5. Focus on niches

This important! Try to take over a whole industry at once and you’ll inevitably get swallowed up by the competition. Start small and control your own niche before moving into another niche. When you master your small area, you can push on and expand.

Related: 21 Choices Millionaires Make That You Aren’t Making But Should Be

You’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to expand after you master your own niche/audience first.

Do you have what it takes? That’s the question I always ask novice businesspeople. You need a plan and you need the right habits if you’re going to succeed.

This article was originally posted here on

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