How many times have we heard of a celebrity who has lost all his fortune or much of it? How many other cases exist of people who die and leave countless legal problems to their heirs? Debts, taxes, conflicts between partners, among others.

A good estate planning, involves or goes hand in hand with an asset protection strategy. The above, well done, will leave your heirs free of problems and, on the other hand, with a good asset protection strategy, you can eliminate the risk of losing everything, whether due to an accident, illness, a failed business, divorce, breach of contract, political changes, among others.

On the other hand, good estate planning implies that you have control, as far as possible, about how your assets will be divided. It also involves you reviewing your plan from time to time, in order to keep it up to date, especially if you are accumulating assets and / or people that you want to include in your planning. In the latter case, we can take as an example the case of the famous actor Heath Ledger, who died in January 2008 and that after his death, reports emerged that he had not updated his will, created before his daughter was born. As a result, the entire Ledger estate of $ 20 million went to his parents and three sisters. A will must always have a language that refers to any natural children, adopted or stepchildren, and any offspring you may have in the future. Fortunately, family members revealed at the end of 2008 that all of Ledger's money would go where he wanted to: his daughter Matilda Ledger, whose mother is actress Michelle Williams.

Another surprising case is that of the famous singer Prince, who died in April 2016 at 57 years of age. The surprising thing is that Prince did not leave a will, he did not have an estate planning, which has led to his case being publicly aired in a Court of Justice and that a judge decides how to distribute about $ 300 million dollars between his six brothers and others potential heirs who have made claims, including an individual who is currently serving a sentence in a federal prison in the United States and claiming to be a legitimate child of the famous interpreter.

In Panama we have several tools to carry out asset planning and asset protection work, but the strategy used must be thoroughly discussed and personalized, since not everyone has the same budget, the same assets or needs However, the most important question you should ask yourself is: why do I need to plan my estate?

You have options and one of them is to leave everything to chance or you can take control, setting as objectives some (you may have others):

  • Provide for your loved ones.
  • Protect your business, if you have it.
  • Maintain privacy on their affairs and avoid, as far as possible, that they end up ventilating in a court of law.
  • Minimize the tax burden in matters of inheritance tax (applicable if you have assets or investments outside of Panama).
  • Avoid the application of rules of forced inheritance (applicable if you have assets or investments outside of Panama).

Do not leave these issues to chance, do not leave your loved ones with a possible headache, including debts and above all, do not allow your property to end up being the property of the State.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.