Prepare a will, retirement expert urges cops.

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Sharon Smith (right), senior manager with responsibility for the JN Individual Retirement Scheme at JN Bank, is greeted by Superintendent Hillary Williams (left), a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Non-Geographic Formations Unit, ahead of a financial planning seminar sponsored by JN Bank. Looking on is Rose Miller, grants manager, JN Foundation.

SHARON Smith, senior manager, JN Bank, is urging members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to ensure that they prepare wills not only to prepare for death, but also for debilitating injuries.

Smith was speaking at a retirement planning and money management seminar organised by JN Bank for police officers attached to the Non-Geographic Formations unit of the JCF, recently.

Smith, who also has responsibility for the JN Individual Retirement Scheme, advised officers that a will is not only intended to address estate issues in the event of death.

She said a will is also an effective and legal way for persons to advise family members about how they should manage their affairs in the event of sickness or incapacitation.

However, she said there is a perception among many Jamaicans that preparing a will means that death is imminent, and as a result many do not do it.

“They believe it is something only old people do or people who are about to die, and therefore many people are reluctant to prepare a will,” she said.

“But too often we get sick and end up in nursing homes and then we blame our children for taking us to a nursing home. But what a difference it would make if we had prepared a will which outlined specifically where we would want to be placed.”

Pointing to the hazards of policing in Jamaica, she implored the officers to ensure that they prepare wills in the event of injury on the job or even death, in an effort to minimise the burden on family members who are to benefit from their estate or who may have to care for them should they become physically disabled.

“A will can provide family members with clear instructions about how you would like to be treated if you are still alive but are unable to care for yourself,” she said.

The failure to prepare a will and issues with other documents have been blamed for the backlog of intestate cases which are administered by the Administrator General’s Department. This has caused cases to languish for years and, as a result, families do not benefit from assets due to them.