Diamond Editorial

Dry bones ain't got a chance

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I've Got a Future

He's young and single with a promising Gospel music career that was about to take off. Then the secret broke. He had been leading a double life. Worship leader Keron Ramsey had fallen--big time. And that's where the story might have ended. But God...


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Diamond Features

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It wasn't an accident, sickness or any kind of 'near death' experience that caused Jason Bishop to give up the perks of being a guitarist in one of T&T's top soca bands. But his story is no less intriguing.


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Diamond Features

Watch What You Watch!

Once upon a time it was said that 'real' Christians don't go to the cinema. That was light years ago. Today, movies are 'in' and many believers have no qualms about watching their favourite flick, be it the R-rated 'Sex in the City' or the horror 'Drag Me To Hell.' The big question is: Have we gone too far?


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Planning Your Estate

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by Rawle Rollocks

JUST picture for a while what your life would be like today were there a significant legacy left for you.  Really, where would you be right now?  What would you be doing? I am sure these and other similar thoughts must have crossed your mind at some time.  Through proper planning we can ensure that those that come after us will have an even better start in life.  Enter the world of Estate Planning. 

The principle of leaving a legacy is not new and can be observed throughout time.  The Bible, for example, highlights the pros of leaving a legacy. Proverbs 13:22 indicates that "A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children" (KJV). Conversely, the scripture also shows the results of ignoring the need to leave a legacy. In Lamentations 5:2-6 the Bible describes a situation of great financial insecurity and great emotional distress where there is no inheritance.

WHAT IS AN ESTATE?
An estate is the total property, real and personal, owned by an individual prior to distribution through a trust or will. Real property is real estate and personal property includes everything else, for example cars, household items, and bank accounts. Estate planning distributes both real and personal property to an individual's heirs.

ESTATE PLANNING
Estate planning is a process involving the counsel of professional advisors who are familiar with your goals and concerns, your assets and how they are owned, and your family structure.  It can involve the services of a variety of professionals, including your lawyer, accountant, financial planner, life insurance advisor, banker and broker.

Estate planning covers the transfer of property at death as well as a variety of other personal matters and may or may not involve tax planning. The core document most often associated with this process is your will.

The various goals of estate planning include making sure the greatest amount of the estate passes to the estate owner's intended beneficiaries, while paying the minimum of taxes. Additional goals typically include providing for and designating guardians for minor children and planning for physical incapacity.

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DO NOT PLAN YOUR ESTATE?

Probate. This is a lengthy and costly legal process that oversees the transfer of assets done through the courts.

Family disputes.  Truth be told, these arise even when there is a will and especially when there is a significant estate to be distributed. Proper estate planning helps to limit the emotional trauma and sometimes permanent severing of family ties that occur as a result of these disputes.

Idle Assets. Your assets can lie idle as a result of unresolved disputes. The maximum benefit of assets cannot be passed on to your heirs and your legacy will be compromised.

Even before death, illness and disease can leave one incapacitated.  With a proper estate plan, your care is provided for and this eases the burden that your inability to work can mean for your family.

TAKING INVENTORY OF YOUR ASSETS IS A GOOD PLACE TO START
Your assets include your investments, retirement savings, insurance policies, and real estate or business interests.  Retirement savings and insurance deserve special mention here.

Annuities and Retirement Benefits
You may be entitled to receive some type of retirement benefit under an employee benefit plan offered by your employer or have an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).  Typically, you should ensure that payment is provided to your beneficiaries in case of your death.

Life Insurance
Insurance plays an important role in estate planning and should be coordinated with all other aspects of your estate plan.  If you do not own life insurance this may be a good time to start.  For many persons this may be the only significant wealth that they will be able to pass on to their heirs.  In fact, individuals who take out large insurance plans can leave sizeable estates more than they would have been ever able to accumulate in their lifetime.

WHOM DO YOU WANT TO INHERIT YOUR ASSETS?
This can be a very sensitive issue but needs to be dealt with nonetheless.  This is often complicated with large families, close knit extended families, previous spouses and children and business relationships. One needs to be aware of all the legal implications, particularly in the case of minors who (unless a guardian is appointed) will have to wait until the age of maturity to access these funds.

Inheritance can be a loaded issue.  By discussing your estate plans with your heirs and being clear about your intentions, you help dispel potential conflicts after you're gone.

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