Estate planning

Family means everything

When your family is everything to you, protecting and providing for your dependants after you are gone is bound to be a top priority. But it can be complicated and requires timely and proper estate planning with the help of experts to get it right.

Temporary guardianship

As an expatriate, it is likely your nominated legal guardians for your children, named in your wills, do not live in Singapore. If your children are suddenly orphaned a delay will occur until the legal guardians arrive in the country and are able to take up their responsibility.

The Singapore authorities have a duty to take children into social care from day one, if something happens to both parents. They will remain there until a legal guardian is approved. It is not normal practice to leave the children with the carer.

It is possible to put in place a Temporary Guardianship to ensure that your children can remain in the care of someone they know and trust until the legal guardian can take over.

This is usually close neighbours and friends and can be nominated by way of a simple signed authority, a copy of which should be left with the nominated temporary guardian.

Wills

A will is a written document stating how your assets and money (the estate) are to be distributed when you die.

Benefits of writing a will:

  • minimises stress at a difficult time
  • ensures the rightful allocation of the estate to the right people
  • expedites legal process
  • prevents or reduces family dispute

As an expatriate you are likely to have assets in at least your home country and your new location. You may also have to consider different jurisdictions if your partner was born in a country other than your own. These circumstances require wills that are valid and effective in all the countries that you are concerned with.

Power of attorney

The Power of Attorney is a legal document created by one person who authorises another person to act on his/her behalf. In the context of Singapore, the creator of the document is known as the Donor and the person being entrusted to act is called the Donee.

The Power of Attorney is a crucial document when a crisis occurs after an accident or illness. When the donor is incapacitated to sign legal documents, the donee has decision-making powers over the donor’s property and financial affairs.

Trusts

An important tool in estate planning, Trusts can help to protect your assets and pass them to another generation.

Trusts are agreements made by a Settlor to transfer money and assets into a separate legal structure. Trustees are appointed to hold the title to those assets for the Beneficiaries named in the Trust Deed.

A Settlor may enter into a Trust arrangement to gain one of more of the following benefits:

  • Protection of those assets from business and other creditors.
  • Removing assets from the estate of the Settlor to minimise death duties and other taxes
  • Simplifying the administration of the estate of the Settlor as the trust assets would not pass through the probate procedure and the Beneficiaries will have swifter access to those assets.
  • Enable nationals from countries that place restrictions on the transfer of assets on death to make flexible provisions for their dependents during their lifetime.

It is important that Settlors receive professional advice before they commit to a Trust structure. AAM Advisory can refer clients to a specialist tax adviser who can assess your circumstances and advise on the Trust options and benefits.

As part of a sound financial plan, trusts may provide effective legal structures that may ensure your assets and estate are managed the way you would like.

Disclaimer: The concept of trusts and wills covered here is intended to provide general information only and does not attempt to give advice that relates to your specific circumstances. AAM Advisory recommends that you seek professional tax and legal advice.

Contact us today to discuss your estate planning needs or help in drafting a temporary guardianship for you and your family.

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