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Bahamian Estate Planning Guidelines that You Need to Know

Posted by M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola | Jun 27, 2017 | 0 Comments

Have you been planning your legacy or thinking about the future? Whether you have a modest inheritance to pass to your family or a complicated estate with different types of property, consider some basic estate planning guidelines for everyone in The Bahamas. Not only can the suggestions below be helpful for you, but you can take your decisions to an attorney who can prepare the necessary documents.

First, think about the types of estate planning vehicles that would best preserve your assets to pass on to others. A trust can hold real property or money for growth over time and later distribution to a beneficiary. The trustee holds title to the property or the bank account while it increases in value or earns interest, and after a set time or at regular intervals disperses it to people of your choosing. Alternatively, a will is treated as if it was executed just before the testator's death, and the bequests made in the will usually are one-time dispositions of money or property.  Other vehicles may be available for you depending on your situation.

Second, think about who you want to receive your money and property after your death. If one of your planned beneficiaries is a minor, you may need to make special legal arrangements such as appointing a guardian to take care of the minor. A trust is often used to preserve the inheritance until the minor comes of age. If a planned beneficiary is disabled or needs medical care, consider whether you want to provide for care expenses. If you want more than one person to receive an item of property, decide what rights you want them to have – e.g., if one person dies, will the other take the entire property, or will the deceased beneficiary's share go to their heirs. Also, consider what you want to happen if one of your beneficiaries or your executor dies before you do.

Third, ensure that you use appropriate documents and language to describe your assets and beneficiaries. This is easily accomplished by consulting with an attorney, who can help you draft the necessary items. Proper execution (signing and witnessing) of these documents can be critical to their later enforceability in court, and taking shortcuts can lead to disputes among beneficiaries.

Do not take chances with your legacy – consult an attorney who can advise you on your options and prepare the documents you need. To find out more, visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambers online or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.

About the Author

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola is a civil and commercial litigation attorney and an accredited civil and commercial mediator. Margaret has over 21 years' experience in legal practice in the United Kingdom, Jamaica and The Bahamas.


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