Testamentary Capacity, Holographic Wills and Living Trusts vs. Wills

A few years ago I acquired more information regarding making a valid will in the Cayman Islands.

The execution requirements for making a valid will in the Cayman Islands are set out in the Wills Law (2004 Revision).

It is also a requirement of Cayman Islands law that a testator must have testamentary capacity at the time of creating his or her will.

The test for testamentary capacity, known as the “golden rule,” was first explained in the English case of Banks vs. Goodfellow and it remains good law in the Cayman Islands today. Here are the facts:

(a) Does the testator understand the nature and effect of what he/she is doing;

(b) Is he/she aware, broadly, of the extent of his/her estate;

(c) Does he/she appreciate the claims of those who might reasonably expect to benefit from his/her estate; and

(d) In considering (c), is there any disorder of the mind or insane delusion that will influence the disposition of his/her property or poison his/her affections such that he/she would make a disposition of property that he/she would not otherwise have made.

In summary, the Wills Law provides that a will must be in writing; it must be signed by the testator or by some other person in his/her presence, at his/her direction.

If the latter, the testator must acknowledge such signature in the presence of two witnesses present at the same time.

If the former, the testator’s signature must be attested to by two witnesses present at the same time in his/her presence.

Subject to only two exceptions for soldiers and sailors on active service, the execution requirements must be complied with; if not, it will be invalid.​

Holographic Wills

Unfortunately, the Cayman Islands law does not, as a general principle, permit holographic wills.

Holographic wills are documents that are usually handwritten and do not comply with the strict requirements for proper execution as a will but have nevertheless been written as testamentary documents, often in extreme circumstances.

​Famous Holographic Will

The most famous holographic will was that of Cecil George Harris, a Canadian farmer who in 1948 suffered the misfortune of becoming trapped under his tractor and fearing that he was about to die, carved a will into the fender which read, “In case I die in this mess I leave all to the wife. Cecil Geo. Harris.” The fender was submitted to probate as his valid holographic will.

Testamentary Capacity

Apparently in the common law tradition, testamentary capacity is the legal term of art used to describe a person’s legal and mental ability to make or alter a valid will.

This concept has also been called sound mind and memory or disposing mind and memory. Cool!

I also learnt that Testamentary intent refers to a testator’s intention with respect to a particular instrument that functions as his/her last will.

Testamentary intent is required for a will to be valid.

Then we have to consider the person’s legal capacity to enter a contract:

Here is a definition and example:

One of the elements of a contract is capacity. Capacity means that a person is legally able to enter into a contract.

There are several things that make a person legally able to do so, including age and state of mind.

A person who is in the end stages of Alzheimer’s disease probably does not have the requisite capacity to sign legal documents.

However, a person with a diagnosis of dementia may very well be able to sign legal documents. Generally speaking, capacity is usually analyzed situationally.

The other way to change your will is by adding what is called a codicil. A codicil is like an amendment or addition to your will.

Use a codicil to revoke part of your will or add a new provision.

To be valid, they must be dated, signed, and witnessed just like a legal will.

I learnt that it is extremely important to keep your will updated. As life changes, so do potential beneficiaries and heirs.

Updating Your Last Will and Testament

If you do not keep your last will and testament updated, it may not reflect your wishes given your new circumstances. The following are good situations in which changing a will may be wise.

  • Marriage:
    • When you get married, both you and your spouse should each create a new will.
    • Most states have laws that award a percentage of your estate to your spouse upon your death.  
    • However, if you want to devise your will differently, you should specify this in your will.
    • Furthermore, adding your spouse to your will may change the percentage of your estate, or of a specific asset, that another beneficiary or heir was previously written to receive.
    • Changing a will should reflect this new proportion as you see fit.
  • Common Law Marriage:
    • The following information was all I could find that would classify eligibility:
    • Any person who has been married to a Caymanian-

v      for at least five years immediately preceding the application, where the marriage took place prior to the 1st January 2004; or

v      for at least seven years immediately preceding the application, where the marriage took place on or after 1st January 2004

v      whose marriage is not a marriage of convenience;

v      who is not living apart from his spouse under a decree of a competent court or under a deed of separation;

v      who has not lived apart from his spouse for an aggregate period of three months

v      out of the five years immediately preceding the application where the marriage took place prior to 1st January 2004; or

v      out of the seven years immediately preceding the application where the marriage took place on or after 1st January, 2004.

v      who is legally and ordinarily resident* in the Islands immediately preceding his application; and

v      who has not in any country been convicted of an offence for which a sentence of imprisonment not exceeding twelve months has been passed other than for non-payment of a fine unless-

1.      the conviction has been quashed on appeal or has been the subject of a free pardon;

2.     the act or omission giving rise to such conviction would not be an offence if done or omitted in the Islands in similar circumstances; or

3.     the conviction is one which, in the interest of justice, the Board directs to be ignored for the purposes of this section,

  • Obtaining a new partner, without marriage:
    • Only if married will your partner automatically receive assets from your estate.
    • So, if you find yourself with a new loved one, changing a will to reflect what you would like to leave that partner is necessary.
  • Divorce:
    • Upon divorce, some states revoke any gifts you leave your spouse in your will. Other states do not.
    • Changing a will upon a divorce is very important.
    • You will want to either specify what you want to leave your former spouse, or else specify how those gifts should now be distributed.
  • A new baby:
    • There are laws in some states that give children some portion of your assets upon your death.
    • However, not everyone wants their property to be distributed the way the state laws specify.
    • If you welcome a new baby into your family, be sure to specify what gifts, the baby shall receive, by changing a will.
    • Perhaps more importantly, be sure to appoint a guardian for the baby.
    • This will be the person who will care for your baby should anything happen to you.
  • New stepchildren:
    • Stepchildren are not automatically entitled to inherit a share of your property in many states.
    • Therefore, if you would like for your stepchildren to inherit any of your property, be sure to specify your wishes by changing your own will.
  • Moving from a community property state to a common law property state:
    • The laws governing what each spouse owns vary depending on whether the couple lives in a community property state or a common law property state.
    • Therefore, if you are planning on moving to a new state, check that states laws.
    • If it differs from the one you currently reside it, be sure to change your own will, according to your new property ownership status.

i.e.    Persons of independent means:

The Cayman Islands Government offers five Immigration products for wealthy, private investors and senior executives who are seeking long-term residence in the Cayman Islands.

1.      Certificate of Permanent Residency for Persons of Independent Means (Form R5) – Persons who invest a minimum of two million Cayman Islands’ Dollars in developed real estate in the Cayman Islands may apply for a Certificate of Permanent Residence for Persons of Independent Means.

As the Certificate title denotes, a holder has the right to reside indefinitely in the Cayman Islands.

A holder will also have the option of seeking naturalization as a British Overseas Territories Citizen and, thereafter, the right to be Caymanian.

A holder and his spouse may also have their permission to remain varied to allow the right to work in the Cayman Islands.

2.      Residency Certificate for Persons of Independent Means Form R2 – This facility is for persons who wish to reside long-term in the Cayman Islands without the right to work.

Applicants will be required to demonstrate that they have invested a prescribed minimum amount in developed real estate in the Islands and that they meet certain financial standing requirements.

A successful applicant will be granted permission to reside in the Islands for a period of 25 years (renewable). This residence type cannot be varied to allow the right to work.

3.      Certificate of Direct Investment Form R8 – The Certificate of Direct Investment is for persons who invest, or propose to invest, a minimum prescribed amount in a licensed employment generating business in the Cayman Islands and in which he/she will exercise substantial management control.

An applicant must demonstrate a substantial business track record or an entrepreneurial background, including specific professional, technical and other knowledge relevant and necessary to carry on the business.

4.      Residency Certificate (Substantial Business Presence) Form R6 – This facility is for persons who invest in, or who are employed in a senior management capacity within, an approved category of business in the Cayman Islands.

A successful applicant is granted a Residency Certificate valid for 25 years (renewable) which entitles him to reside in the Islands and to work in the business in which he has invested or is employed in a senior management capacity.

  • Changing your mind about heirs: Of course, things can happen in life that cause people to change their minds about the way in which they’d like their property distributed. Changing a will to reflect these new wishes is important.
  • New or disposed of assets: Perhaps in your will you would like to leave all of your property or a percentage of your property to your heirs, then what you own changes and there is no need to change your will. However, if you have willed certain gifts to people in your will, and you no longer have those properties, be sure to remove said property from your will. Additionally, when you acquire new property, be sure to account for that in your will.

Ways of changing a will

The easiest way of changing a will is simply to make a new will. It is imperative that you revoke the old will.

To do this, simply write a statement in the new will that states that you revoke all wills and codicils that you have previously made.

This is sufficient to revoke any previous wills, but it is wise to also destroy any of your previous wills in order to avoid confusion or challenges to your new will.

The other way to change your will is by adding what is called a codicil.

A codicil is like an amendment or addition to your will. Use a codicil to revoke part of your will or add a new provision.

To be valid, they must be dated, signed, and witnessed just like a legal will.

Codicils were an efficient way of changing a will before there were computers and printing was a hassle.

Today, codicils should be avoided wherever possible. They can cause confusion, be lost, and are sometimes even a means to challenge wills.

That information is definitely worth remembering!

Changes to other estate documents

Much of your property passes by law to beneficiaries, despite what your will says.

Property such as retirement proceeds, life insurance proceeds, joint bank accounts, payable-on-death bank accounts, and stocks registered with a transfer-on-death form all pass directly to a specified beneficiary.

If you change your mind about who the beneficiary should be, change the names using the forms on which you named the original beneficiaries.

Do not change the named beneficiaries through your will, for it will have no effect.

Living trusts are also not affected by the terms of your will. If you decide to change the terms of your living trust, add an amendment to the original trust document. Then, transfer property in or out of the trustee’s name, accordingly.

You do not need to worry about having to revoke a trust and create an original one, like when changing a will.

Living Trust

What Is a Living Trust?

Aliving trust is a legal document, or trust, created during an individual’s lifetime where a designated person, the trustee, is given responsibility for managing that individual’s assets for the benefit of the eventual beneficiary.

A living trust is designed to allow for the easy transfer of the trust creator or settlor’s assets while bypassing the often complex and expensive legal process of probate. Living trust agreements designate a trustee who holds legal possession of assets and property that flow into the trust.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • A living trust designates a trustee to manage assets for the beneficiary, while the grantor is still alive.
  • Trustees with fiduciary duty manage trusts according to the beneficiary’s best interests.
  • Living trusts can be either irrevocable or revocable.

How Living Trusts Work

Living trusts are managed by a trustee who typically has a fiduciary duty to manage the trust prudently in the best interests of the trust’s beneficiary or beneficiaries designated by the trust settlor, also called a grantor. Upon the death of the settlor, these assets flow to the beneficiaries according to the grantor’s wishes as outlined in the trust agreement. Unlike a will, however, a living trust is in effect while the settlor is alive and the trust does not have to clear the courts to reach its intended beneficiaries when the settlor dies or becomes incapacitated. 

Types of Living Trusts

Living trusts can be irrevocable or revocable.

Living Revocable Trust

With a living revocable trust, the trust settlor can designate himself or herself as the trustee and take control of assets within the trust. However, this stipulation means the assets in the trust remain a part of the trust settlor’s estate, meaning the individual may still be liable for estate taxes should the estate be valued beyond the estate tax exemption at the time of death. The trust settlor also has the power to change and amend trust rules at any time. This means the trust settlor is free to change beneficiaries or undo the trust altogether.  

Irrevocable Living Trust

With an irrevocable living trust, the settlor relinquishes certain rights to control over the trust. The trustee effectively becomes legal owner, but the individual would also reduce his or her taxable estate. Once the trust agreement for an irrevocable living trust is made, the named beneficiaries are set and the settlor can do little to amend that agreement. 

Wills and Trusts

Wills and Trusts are both estate planning documents used to pass assets on to beneficiaries at death. … Here are five ways in which a Trust is better than a Will to pass your estate to your beneficiaries. A Trust can be used to Avoid Probate – a Will cannot.

When you die, this creates a change of beneficiary or beneficiaries. The person or persons you named in your trust documents to inherit from you become the new beneficiaries upon your death. They now own the assets you placed in your trust, according to the terms you decided when you made it.

Advantages to using a Trust over a Will

Wills and Trusts are both estate planning documents used to pass assets on to beneficiaries at death.  However, there are distinct advantages to using a Trust over a Will.  Here are five ways in which a Trust is better than a Will to pass your estate to your beneficiaries.

  1. A Trust can be used to Avoid Probate – a Will cannot. Probate is the process of changing the title on assets when someone passes away.  Assets that are owned in a deceased person’s individual name and for which there is no named beneficiary are no longer accessible once the owner of the asset has died. In order for family members to gain access to accounts or other assets in the deceased’s individual name, they must file a petition with the probate court and wait for the court to approve the Will and appoint the Personal Representative.  This can be a long and costly process during which bills cannot be paid and assets cannot be managed.  A Trust is an excellent probate avoidance tool because assets that are owned in the name of a Trust are immediately accessible to the trust-maker’s designated successor.
  2. A Trust can provide Creditor Protection for the Inheritance you Leave to Beneficiaries – a Will cannot. Many people worry that the inheritance they leave to their children will be lost to their children’s creditors such as a divorcing spouse, unpaid credit card bills, a bankruptcy, a business loss, or a lawsuit.  Sadly, this is often the case when assets are distributed to beneficiaries via a Will.  A Trust allows the maker to safeguard an inheritance from the reach of the beneficiaries’ creditors by keeping the assets out of the name of the beneficiary.  Ownership of the assets remains in the Trust.  The beneficiary will have access to the assets in accordance with the directions you leave in your Trust. You may also allow your beneficiary to serve as Trustee, allowing the beneficiary to manage her own inheritance.  By leaving assets to your beneficiaries via a Trust rather than outright via your Will, you can ensure that the assets you worked so hard for will be available to your children and future generations.
  3. A Trust can Protect Governmental Benefits for a Person with Disabilities – a Will cannot. If you have a child, grandchild or other beneficiary with disabilities, then a Trust is a must.  If you leave assets to a person who receives needs-based governmental benefits via your Will, it will place your beneficiary in the difficult position of either losing those benefits, or transferring the inheritance into a Trust of which the state must be the beneficiary at the beneficiary’s death.  Unless the inheritance you are leaving is so significant that the monetary and medical benefits available to the person through programs such as Social Security and Medicaid are no longer important, then making sure that those governmental benefits continue to be available is vital.  Leaving assets to a person with disabilities via a Trust is the best way to ensure those governmental benefits are preserved and that the inheritance you leave will be available to pay for expenses that are not covered by these governmental benefits, which while vital to many, are limited in their scope.
  4. Trusts can Reduce Estate Taxes – a Traditional Will cannot. Many married couples have so-called “I-love-you” Wills, which leave all assets outright to the surviving spouse upon the first death.  If you have an estate of more than $1,000,000, then using “I-love-you” Wills means that money you think you are leaving to your beneficiaries will in fact be going to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the form of estate tax payable at the surviving spouse’s death.  If you would prefer that your assets pass to your family, create Trusts to reduce estate taxes.  Estate tax planning via Trusts for married couples is standard planning and permissible under both state and federal tax laws.
  5. A Trust can Administer Assets for Minor Beneficiaries without Court Intervention – a Will cannot. Leaving money directly to a minor creates an administrative nightmare because the law provides that a minor does not have the legal capacity to receive assets. The parent of the minor also does not have the ability to act as the child’s legal representative until the court says so.  As such, if you die with a Will that leaves money to minor beneficiaries, the court will need to appoint a Conservator to receive that inheritance for your children.  The Conservator will be required to report annually to the court and the court will appoint an overseer (guardian ad litem) to make sure the Conservator is doing his or her job for your minor beneficiaries.  This means huge costs and long delays in administering funds for minors.  It also means that when the minor turns 18, he or she will be entitled to receive all of those assets and will be free to do with them as he or she wishes (think fast cars, spring break, and lots of shopping).  Creating a Trust to receive assets passing to a minor, or even to a young adult beneficiary, is the best way to ensure that the court is not involved in the process, that the person  you want to manage assets for the beneficiary is able to do so, and that the beneficiary can use  the assets only for purposes you decide are important and/or at ages that you dictate.

These are just five ways in which a Trust is superior to a Will.

When There is no Will

According to Robert Mack, HSM Chambers, most people know that making a will is the “adult thing” to do, especially when children and other dependents are involved.

However, like most unpleasant things in life, we tend to put it off for as long as possible.

In some tragic cases life can end suddenly and unexpectedly, or a person can be struck down by illness and lose their mental capacity which would otherwise prevent them from creating a valid will.

So, when there is no will, what is the way?

See the Journal’s  link below for more details:

Where there’s no will – there’s a way

Digital Assets

Let’s also not forget that digital assets fall into two broad categories: valuable and sentimental.

Valuable digital assets include such things as cryptocurrencies, online investment/bank accounts, online store credits, intellectual property, and anything else which has a tangible dollar value attached to it.

Sentimental digital assets, on the other hand, include photographs, personal videos, blog posts, social media accounts, and information held in email messages.

So how can a Will manage these two distinct types of digital assets?

See the Link below for more details:

Advertisements
Night School

Night School-Day School: The Power of AAA Dow Jones Performances (Aptitude + Ability + Ambition)

We all were young once. Many of us still feel that way even though our bodies have a different interpretation.

Night School

I believe education or schooling, whether its Night School or Day School, is important for everyone and the extent of schooling in any society is tied to its level of economic development.

According to my most recent studies, the word school is from a Greek root word that means “leisure”.

In ancient Greece, famous teachers such as Socrates, Aristotle and Plato taught aristocratic, upper-class men who had plenty of spare time.

Plato (429-347 BC) was born in fifth-century Athens to a wealthy family. As a young Athenian of his station, he was expected to pursue politics and such worthy matters.

Instead Plato decided to follow the path of his mentor, Socrates (470-399 BC) and became a philosopher. In ancient times Athens was home to some of the most extraordinary accomplishments of philosophy, art, and science in human history. Plato was born in a time known as the city’s “Golden Age” in the fifth century BC.

I’m delighted to also suggest a movie I’ve watched years ago which I thought was magnificently created to depict what life must have been like during that time. Even though the emphasis was placed on Sparta, which was a small city in the rugged mountains of southern Greece and was feared for its military might, we are still able to see the connection to their neighbors in Athens.

Leonidas (GERARD BUTLER) bids farewell to his son Pleistarchos (GIOVANI ANTONIO CIMMINO) and wife Gorgo (LENA HEADEY) as the 300 begin their march north in Warner Bros. Pictures’, Legendary Pictures’ and Virtual Studios’ action drama “300,” distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.
PHOTOGRAPHS TO BE — USED SOLELY FOR ADVERTISING, PROMOTION, PUBLICITY OR REVIEWS OF THIS SPECIFIC MOTION PICTURE AND TO REMAIN THE PROPERTY OF THE STUDIO. NOT FOR SALE OR REDISTRIBUTION

Based on evidence of the past and clear and continuous events experienced in the present, it has now been widely perceived that both politics and religion are still the most heated topics and note-worthy matters in our society today. Many cultures around the world and their people are passionate about these topics.

The same has been reported to be true in ancient China, where famous philosopher Confucius (K’ung Fu-tzu) was known to have only shared his wisdom with a privileged few.

Speaking of China, guess what I found out? The Musuo is a very small society in China’s Yunnan province, in which women control most property, select their sexual partners, and make most decisions about everyday life.

The Musuo appear to be operating with the Matriarchy (“rule of mothers”) type of system. This is a form of social organization in which females dominate males and have only rarely been documented in human history.

I’ve mentioned that interesting fact only because further on I will explain what Patriarchy (“rule of fathers”) is all about and how that has affected equality in our world today.

However, I strongly and passionately believe that neither one of these systems should be the standard or the social-norm in our world today.

Did you know that the limited schooling that takes place in lower-income countries reflects the national culture? The way that country is view by the rest of the world?

In Iran, for example, schooling is closely tied to Islam. Similarly, schooling in Bangladesh (Asia), Zimbabwe (Africa), and Nicaragua (Latin America) has been shaped by the distinctive cultural traditions of these nations.

Unfortunately, all lower-income countries have one trait in common when it comes to schooling. There is not much of it.

Here are the facts- According to World Bank 2011, In the world’s poorest nations (including several in Central America), about one-fourth of all children never get to go to school.

Another fact- World-wide, more than one-third of all children never reach the secondary grades or high school. As a result, about one-sixth of the world’s people cannot read or write. Research shows that reading and writing skills are widespread in high-income countries, where illiteracy rates generally are below 5 percent.

I’ve also learnt that in much of Latin America, illiteracy is unfortunately more common and one of the consequences are due to limited economic development.

Statistics also shows that in twelve nations-most of them in Africa- illiteracy is the rule rather than the exception. Many of their people rely on the oral tradition of face-to-face communication rather than the written word.

So, based on what you’ve read and after scrutinizing the above world map, do you agree or disagree and how can we help each other raise our standards?

However, saying all of that, you know what I have come to realize- its even greater odds to be educated if you’re a girl in certain countries. Many poor families depend on the earnings of their children, and in places like India where child labor has already been outlawed, many children still continue to work in factories-weaving rugs or making hand-crafted items which limits their opportunities for any time or kind of education.

Patriarchy (rule of fathers) is a form of social organization in which males dominate females and is found almost everywhere in the world. This type of system shapes Indian education and most Indians parents are joyful at the birth of a boy because he and his future wife will both contribute income to the family.

Whereas it is seen as an economic cost to raising a girl. In their culture, parents must provide a dowry (a gift of wealth to the groom’s family) and after her marriage, a daughter’s work only benefits her husband’s family. Therefore, many Indians see less reason to invest in the schooling of girls.

Did you also know that education has not always been part of the way of life for the Japanese? Before industrialization brought mandatory education in 1872, only a privileged few attended schools.

Now, Japan is a force to be reckoned with and its educational system is widely praised for producing some of the world’s highest achievers! Results continue to show that Japanese schooling continue to produce impressive results and in many notable fields such as mathematics and science, Japanese students continue to outperform students in almost every other high-income nation, including the United States. Wow!

I hope they make time for a love life eventually or there won’t be many of them left. Lol!

In Great Britain during the Middle Ages, education was a privilege of the British Nobility, who studied classical subjects, having little concern at the time for the practical skills necessary and needed to earn a living.

However, as the Industrial Revolution came around it became evident that there was a need for an educated labor force, and as working-class people demanded access to schools, a rising share of the population entered the classroom. British law now requires every child to attend school until the age of sixteen. I like that!

Now we can’t forget the United States in this article- after all they were among the first countries to set a goal of mass education for their people. Studies show that by 1850, about half of the young people between the ages of five and nineteen were enrolled in school (1 Thessalonians 5:19, “Do not quench the Spirit”). We still need the bible in our schools!

And by 1918, all states had passed a mandatory education law requiring children to attend school until the age of sixteen or completion of eight grade.

1 Thessalonians 5: 1-24 (The Day of the Lord) says,

5  Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2  for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3  While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

4  But you, brother and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5  You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6  So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7  For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8  But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet (Kind of like a Spartan Soldier).

9  For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10  He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11  Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

12  Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13  Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14  And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

15  Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. 16  Rejoice always, 17  pray continually, 18  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

19  Do not quench the Spirit. 20  Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21  but test them all; hold on to what is good,

 
22  reject every kind of evil. 23  May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24  The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

The United States history states that Thomas Jefferson thought the new nation could become democratic only if the people learned to read. Today, the United States has an outstanding record of higher education for its people.

Education is constantly being promoted in the United States and nearly all American’s dream of higher education and equal opportunities. National surveys show that most people think education is crucial to personal success, and more and more people are starting to believe the dream!

Everyone should have a chance to get an education, and it would be wonderful to receive one that is in line with the personal ability and talent of that individual. Oh, what a dream that would be! But we all know that is everyone’s dream around the world but not the actual reality.

Many of the countries that I have mentioned above and others that were not mention but are definitely in the mix; realize the significance of education and its crucial importance to their economic development and increased equality.

So, what’s makes schools, colleges or universities so important? There are several variables. Well, number one’s pretty easy. It’s a good place to meet new people and interact.

Now please understand, everyone is different, and some people may require or function more effectively in a different environment. We are all not the same.

However, according to the definition of Sociology, which is the systematic study of the human society and the world around us, I can see such compounds as a great place to mix and mingle.

Second variable in the equation is that schools help to or at least they should help to identify and measure a child’s intelligence or aptitude. See my previous article called: An aptitude simply to Live

Alfred Binet was a psychologist who was commissioned by the French Government to devise an objective method for identifying children who were not doing well in school. He designed the first comprehensive intelligence test in the early 20th century. Then later on in 1916, Lewis Terman and his colleagues at Stanford University revised Binet’s test for use in the United States, resulting in the administered test gaining wide acceptance during the 1940s and 1950s.

From there, the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale was introduced and is still widely used. (Fourth Edition SB-IV).

I was also intrigued to find out that as time progressed test researchers developed a formula for expressing a child’s intellectual level that made it possible to compare children of different chronological ages (CA), which apparently are expressed in how old in years and months the children are.

This measurement was called the intelligence quotient (IQ) and is defined as follows:
IQ = MA/CA X 100

The computation of IQ made it possible to understand how a child’s intellectual ability compared to that of peers of the same chronological age.

However, there were problems with this ratio approach to IQ and now IQ is assessed using the deviation IQ approach. This approach assigns an IQ score by comparing an individual’s test score with the scores of other people of the same age range. David Wechsler (Wechester, 1974) is primarily known for developing this technique and was applied to IQ tests that both he and his colleagues developed.

The test for early childhood is the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, or WPPSI.

The test for childhood and adolescence is the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children or WISC and the test for adulthood is the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale or WAIS (“wace”).

An individual who takes any of these tests obtains a score that is compared statically to the scores of other people of the same age. The Wechsler IQ test is widely used although there are many other intelligence tests being used.

IQ is assumed to be normally distributed around an average score of 100, with about 2/3 of the general population scoring between 85 and 115 and almost 96% of the population scoring between 70 and 130. That leaves roughly 2% of the population scoring below 70 and another 2% scoring above 130, which is a popular cutoff point for defining giftedness.

However as much as we admire or perhaps despise the gifted, we can not and most not leave behind those who need us the most. Many children with disabilities around the world have either been hidden out of shame, misunderstood or mistreated.

Nevertheless, in the United States of America, the passing of the 1997 Amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA-97), the reauthorization of this act in 2004 (IDEA-04), and the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act in 2002, we can safely say that they are making considerable steps to the needs of their most vulnerable citizens.

Within the Cayman Islands, the Government and the general population has also been working diligently to make improvements were necessary in this regard and I strongly believe this will only facilitate more unity, hope and ambition for the people of the Cayman Islands.

Remember , Influence should never have to stop with our generation or a person’s disability.