Planning for the Future

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Raheem Akingbolu writes on how United Capital Trustees Limited is redefining wealth management with its Private Trust Service, pointing out how its timely intervention at a time the country is at crossroads, would help many individuals enhance their future.

As a result of the damming effect of the ravaging COVID-19, the lockdown, and the #EndSARS protests, many Nigerians are already describing the year 2020, as nothing, but unfortunate. Just when business owners were concluding taking stock of their losses, the unrest that occurred across the country recently, led to further financial hiccups.

Despite these challenges, the management of United Capital Plc, a financial and investment services Group, (of which UCTL is a member), are assuring Nigerians and those in the Diaspora that their interests could be protected by a trusted third-party service. The Group through their Private Trust service, under the Trustees services ensures that the interests of willing customers are protected and professionally managed against unforeseen circumstances while yielding competitive returns.

“Our Private Trust service is designed to provide long-term wealth preservation, professional wealth management and investor services. We also provide personalised and highly confidential administration and disposition of assets in line with your express wishes,” the MD/CEO Tokunbo Ajayi recently stated.

Why private trust fund?

Perhaps the best time to answer the question of why is now. It is believed that during a period like the COVID-19 pandemic that has continued to ravage the whole world, the need for Trust services, especially estate planning, can help people manage their affairs if they are suddenly unable to do so. Individuals and corporate entities can set up living trusts and name a trustee who will manage it on their behalf against inadvertent occurrences. Under such an arrangement, the trustee can take over managing, not only the person’s affairs but also those of any beneficiaries he or she has been providing for.

The UCTL’s private trust service also includes the Heritage trust; a service that can cover the educational expenses of the person’s children/wards. Regardless of the number of children or wards, this service offers flexibility in how and when money is disbursed for educational expenses. The flexibility the Trusts offers refers to how assets are distributed, which allows the subscriber to explicitly state in detail how his or her estate is to be distributed to beneficiaries.

Equally as important is the Nigerian Diaspora Trust, which the company conceptualized to take care of the increasing number of Nigerians Living in the diaspora, who want to start and grow investments back home. At its launch last year, the UCTL noted that the service was part of its response towards introducing innovative investment solutions to the Nigerian economy.

It is a specialised product designed to meet the needs of Nigerians living abroad, affording them the opportunity to transfer responsibilities and assets to a reliable trustee who in turn represents and protects their interest while ensuring that their desires and objectives are achieved.

Estate Planning

Among other offerings, the business also provides a range of Estate Planning products and services designed to assist in making effective and enduring estate planning arrangements for families.

Of course, estate is all about the property owned by an individual, excluding liabilities. It is the net worth of the person or the value of their earthly possessions that can be disposed of or given away.

However, there is more to estate than ownership; it requires planning and maintenance. By a layman’s definition, this is a written expression of how a person wants his/her asset owned, managed, and preserved during his/her lifetime and upon demise.

In the last few months, UCTL has consistently played up the features of its estate planning offering, which is centered around confidentiality, stress free, cost effectiveness and assets disposition arrangements.

All these are said to have been put in place to insulate the subscribers of the product, and their families from undue publicity, rancor, family disputes, and delays that are characteristic of poorly planned estates. “Our Estate Planning services are set up by a Settlor for the administration of named assets for the benefit of another or others called beneficiaries,” the company stated.

The service brings to memory a book by Leo Okafor, ‘Living Trust’, where he stated that
“Estate Planning is like a tree that grows from a tiny seed; the day you execute an estate planning instrument is the day you sow a seed from which the future and comfort of your loved ones begin to grow and their future becomes assured. The sooner you plant the seed, the sooner shall the tree grow….”.

Estate Planning involves the financial plan method used to effectively accumulate and protect one’s property, money, investment, and assets during one’s lifetime. It involves how the estate can be distributed efficiently upon one’s demise as stated earlier before their demise.

According to an expert, Biodun Adegbokun, Estate planning can be likened to budgeting that helps control the future during and after your lifetime. This is an attribute of a prudent person.

He said, “What drives estate planning is the certainty and availability of current resources today, your ability to harness it and the uncertainty that occurs when you no longer have the capacity or you are gone, then what is left of your dependents and beneficiaries,”

The expert pointed out that estate planning is vital for everyone, regardless of the level of income or net worth. “Whoever dies without making provision for how his estate is to be distributed or administered will subject his asset to the law of intestacy which is imposed on him by law or custom,” he stated.

Estate planning made simple

As part of the measures put in place to properly manage the estate in its care, United Capital Trustees has cleverly designed some tools to give estate owners succour.

The Living Trust, for instance, is designed to take effect during the lifetime of the Settlor. This type of trust is often used by individuals with large estates to reduce estate taxes and avoid probate. Meanwhile, Blind Trust, another important tool, is usually used to avoid conflict of interest particularly by those in public service. In effect, the settlor gives up the right to information regarding the status of the asset.

In the case of Family Trust, it was developed to oversee family investment management, tax planning, succession, insurance, philanthropy, and a myriad of other needs particular to the family. This protects liquidity, cash flow and ensures the longevity of wealth over generations to come.

Under Wills and Executorship, the client’s wishes, and desires, as reflected in a will, are protected, and executed efficiently after his or her death after processing a Grant of Probate.

However, if a person dies intestate, i.e. without a will, the company as Trustees will assist to apply for Letters of Administration (LA) to be able to administer the affairs of the Estate.

United Capital Trustees has also indicated that it offers custodial services to individual and corporate clients. “We act as Custodians of important legal/title documents, share certificates, and other valued articles belonging to our clients. Benefits include safekeeping of assets and adherence to the client’s wishes as stipulated in the Custody Agreement,”

Another important tool the company often deplored is the Dollar Denominated Trust, which is a variant of its Private Trust products that caters to all trusts and Investments in US Dollars. For its Endowment of Foundations tool, it is an arrangement designed to accumulate, preserve, manage, and utilize wealth over time for public and charitable purposes over a lengthy period or even in perpetuity.