From the Managing Editor

Estate planning need not begin when you are old, but should be planned just like we plan investments.

By Rohit Saran        Print Edition: May 31, 2007

Nothing is certain in life except death and taxes. Wise men down the ages have told us this time and again. Yet, only one of these two certainties dominates our investment decisions. Most of us allow tax implications to guide every investment we make but are unconcerned about how the possibility of death should influence our financial decisions. A few who do realise the importance of estate planning (financial arrangements that would meet your wishes if something happens to you), do so too late for it to make any difference to the quality of their investments.

Perhaps death is too morbid a thought to be kept in mind every time we make an investment. Many of us — at least when we are young — feel there is no point bothering about what happens to our money "after I have gone". Some of us find life insurance the beginning and the end of financial planning for death. Even the most aware among us consider estate planning as something which is to be done after we have retired.

All of these are reasonable explanations, but none of them is complete. For though death is certain, its timing isn’t. And that’s how it is different from taxes. This also means that estate planning need not begin when you are old. It should be treated as the ultimate financial goal, a guide map of how you want to build your assets and for what purpose. Once the purpose is clear and inspiring, who knows, your methods and levels of earnings and savings may change. If nothing else, making a will imparts the much missing long-term perspective to financial planning. This applies to people of all ages, income classes and family types. Our cover story not only convinces you of the need for having a will, but also tells you — through case studies — the often disastrous consequences of not having one. It also tells you the procedures and methods of building a legally sound and financially efficient inheritance.

If all this leaves you in a reflective — if not grim — mood, don’t worry. Intelligent investing is fun too. Recognising this, we introduce a travel section in the magazine to help you get more out of your travel budget. We also present our long-planned page on global investing. Expect both the new sections to evolve in the issues to come. If you want to tell us what more you would like to see in these pages — or elsewhere — just drop us a line at letters.moneytoday@intoday.com.

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