"If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him.
An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest"

Benjamin Franklin

It is estimated that the average person spends 76 800 hours to build their estate, yet very few people spend any time ensuring that their estates are not diluted by more than 30% upon death, through death taxes. More emphasis is usually placed on investment strategies and the creation of wealth than on estate planning, despite the fact that estate planning forms one of the key supporting pillars of a sound financial plan.

It is understandable that people generally avoid discussing issues around death. It is therefore not surprising that many people die without wills and proper financial plans. The result is that often loved ones are left destitute after substantial portions of wealth are lost to death taxes. If only some of the 76 800 hours have been spent on protecting the wealth built during their lives, a legacy of love could have been left, instead of chaos and anxiety.

The secret of a successful estate plan is to engage the services of aligned professionals, otherwise a conflict or gap may easily develop in your estate plan. So beware, do your own homework, educate yourself, listen to all advice, and then make your own, informed decisions. It is your hard-earned money and assets that you need to protect. It appears that people sometimes give "advice" that may suite their own pockets, rather than yours, and this has given trusts such a bad name, unnecessarily.

Maybe the following definition of estate planning by Meyerowitz can be your guide when you make your assessment:

"...The arrangement, management and securement and disposition of a person’s estate so that he, his family and other beneficiaries may enjoy and continue to enjoy the maximum from his estate and his assets during his lifetime and after his death, no matter when death may occur."

The word trust is often used quite loosely and in a variety of contexts. Most family trusts are discretionary trusts.