I have been reading this fantastic book authored by Mr. Ferdinand Ibezim of Selling Skills Support Services Ltd. The book was loaned to me by one of our consultants and I dare say that it is one of the best books I have read in a long time.

Networking involves creating opportunities through meeting people and building strong relationships. These relationships grow and deepen over time, leading to other contacts, relationships and opportunities.

As I read through this book, I reflected on the opportunities that have come my way through Business and social Networking. I am a firm believer that business networking brings with it the added advantage of recommendation and personal introduction, which are always very helpful for developing business opportunities.

Creating a structured plan and process is vital to any successful venture, whether

launching a new business, orchestrating an organizational turnaround or managing your job search networking campaign. It is critical that you clearly identify your network contacts, develop a personalized networking plan and build an administrative process to manage that information.

To Download a Printable Networking Action Plan Click here ===> NETWORKING ACTION PLAN

A person who uses a network of professional or social contacts to further their career always prioritises helping and giving to others ahead of taking and receiving for themselves.

You must give in order to receive. Be helpful to others and you will be helped in return. Networks of people are highly complex – often it is not possible to see exactly how and why they are working for you, So you must trust that goodness is rewarded, even if the process is hidden and the effect takes a while.

Estate Planning: Preparing for the Future

Thomas is a sound engineer, he makes a reasonably good income from his job with a prominent record label and he enjoys the benefits that comes from working with some of the biggest stars in the music industry.  Thomas is married to Mimi and they have 4 beautiful kids Kene (15), Ada(13), Chika (10) and Thomas Jnr (8). The kids mean the world to him. Life is good for Thomas and his family, they travel regularly and have properties in choice areas within Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt.


A few months ago, Thomas starts from sleep with severe chest pains, the pain is so intense that he can barely speak. Luckily his wife is able to take him to the hospital where he gets emergency treatment for a heart attack. Whilst he is recovering from his surgery, his wife informs him that his relatives had approached her and requested for a list of all his assets and properties, just in case that he passed away after the heart attack. She also informs him that his cousin attempted to take away one of his motor vehicles in her absence, and was only prevented by the efforts of the security man.

Thomas is incensed, however he is unable to leave his sick bed and even if he was, his doctor would not permit him to leave for fear that the heart attack would happen again. He instructs his wife to call his lawyers. Whilst she is away, he lies back and wonders what could have happened if he had passed away a a result of the heart attack- what would have happened to his family? Who would have provided for his family? He realises that his wife and children would have been thrown into the cold by his extended family and there would have been little remedy for them because he did not have a Will.

When his Lawyer arrives, Thomas asks for advice on the ways in which he can plan the distribution of his assets, so as to provide for his family in the event of his sudden demise and to ensure that his assets would be properly distributed and administered for the benefit of his wife and children. His Lawyer proceeds to explain the elements and benefits of an Estate Plan.

An Estate plan refers to the collection of documents which enables an individual manage his current and future assets in preparation for their death or incapacitation.  Many people mistakenly believe that estate planning is only necessary for the wealthy. In reality, a basic estate plan is essential for everyone, regardless of income or net worth, because we all want to minimize confusion, unnecessary costs, and stress for loved ones after our death.


Without proper preparation and documentation, assets like houses, retirement plans and savings accounts can end up in limbo for years, sometimes requiring expensive legal assistance to straighten matters out.

Some of the major estate planning tasks include:

  •  Creating a will:

    Wills are easy to create, but they require the distribution of assets to go through probate. Probate is a legal process that involves:

    • Validating or proving a deceased person’s will; 
    • Identifying, inventorying, and appraising the deceased person’s property
    • Paying debts and taxes; 
    • And ultimately distributing the remaining property as the will directs. 

    The probate process often requires a lot of technical paperwork and court appearances, and the resulting legal and court fees are paid from estate property, thus reducing the amount that’s passed on to heirs.

  • Limiting estate taxes by creating Trusts and setting up trust accounts in the name of beneficiaries:A trust can be more expensive to set up and requires professional assistance, but it provides benefits that a will cannot. First, when they’re structured properly, trusts will help avoid guardianship if you become incapacitated. Furthermore,  A will only works after you’ve died; a trust, by contrast, works all the time, including periods of incapacity before death. Trusts usually avoid probate, which helps beneficiaries gain access to assets more quickly as well as save time and court fees. Depending on how it’s structured, a trust may also reduce estate taxes owed and can protect an estate from heirs’ creditors.

  • Establishing a guardian for living dependents:If you fail to appoint guardians in your Will and your children are orphaned before they reach 18, the courts will appoint guardians instead, but they won’t necessarily choose the people that you would have preferred to take care of your children. If when you pass away the other parent of your children survives, the surviving parent will normally continue to have full responsibility for the children. However, if neither parent survives (as in some road accidents) then the guardians you have appointed will take on the responsibility for your children. By appointing guardians you can ensure that your children are looked after by the people that you have chosen as the best people for the job.
  • Naming an executor of the estate to oversee the terms of the will:
  • The executor is responsible for making sure all assets in the will are accounted for, along with transferring these assets to the correct party. He or she also needs to ensure that all the debts of the deceased are paid off, including any taxes. The executor is legally obligated to meet the wishes of the deceased and act in the interest of the deceased. The executor can be almost anyone but is usually a lawyer, accountant or family member, with the only restriction being that he or she must be over the age of 18
  • Creating and updating beneficiaries on plans such as life insurance:
  • Setting up Funeral Arrangements:Funerals can also be paid for using assets from the deceased’s estate; however, the funds may not be available directly, so someone else will have to pay the immediate costs. The arranger of the funeral can pay the expenses and later be reimbursed in full once the estate is settled. Representatives like trust officers and estate attorneys can also pay funeral expenses from funds held in trust or from other available accounts, and later be refunded by the estate.
  • Establishing annual gifting to reduce the taxable estate:
  • Setting up durable power of attorney (POA) to direct other assets and investments

What happens if you die without a Will?

I cringe whenever I hear that a person (especially a man) dies without leaving a Will, especially where the individual has a family and young dependants.Your will lets you decide what happens to your money, property and possessions after your death.When a person who was married with children dies intestate (without a will) then difficult questions arise. Who are the beneficiaries entitled to the deceased’s property? Should the estate be distributed according to Customary Law or received English Law. These questions sometimes cause the members of the family to engage in a bitter dispute which may result in litigation.

NOTE: If you die without a will, the law says who gets what!!!

The purpose of intestate succession procedure is to distribute the deceased’s assets in a manner that closely represents how the average person would have designed his or her estate plan, had that person prepared a will prior to his death. However, this default can differ dramatically from what the person really would have wanted. Even where it is known what the person intended, no exceptions are made where no valid will exists. Nor are there any exceptions made based on need or special circumstances.

In the Nigerian situation, where a man dies without a will, but married under the
English law, the family members may apply for the letters of administration. The wife and one or two grown up children of the man who dies intestate are the family members qualified to apply for the letters of administration.  But where there is no wife or grown up children, then the siblings of the late man can apply. The application will be made to the High Court of the state where the property is located, and it will be issued in the names of those who applied for it.

Section 49(1) of the Administration of Estates Law states that, the estate of a person who died intestate shall be distributed in the following manner; the surviving husband or wife shall take the personal chattels absolutely and in addition the estate (excluding personal chattels) shall be charged with the payment of a net sum of money equivalent to the value of one third  of the estate, free of funeral expenses, to the surviving husband or wife plus interest from the date of death at the rate of 2½ % per annum until paid or appropriated and subject to providing for that sum the estate (excluding personal chattels) shall be held as follows; (a) one-third upon trust for the surviving husband or wife during his or her lifetime and subject to such life interest, on the statutory trusts for the children of the deceased; and (b) two thirds on the statutory trusts for the children of the deceased.

Section 36(1) of the Marriage Act states that, where any person who is subject to customary law contracts a marriage in accordance with the provisions of this Act and such person dies intestate leaving a widow or husband or any children of the marriage, the real and personal property of such person which might have disposed by will, shall be distributed in accordance with the provisions of the Laws of England relating to succession of estates, notwithstanding any contrary customary law.

To avoid the type of family dispute and the kind of litigation examined in this piece, it is advisable to consult a lawyer and prepare a will so that one does not pass on intestate leave behind problems for the family.