Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Importance of Writing a Will for Expats

by Ivan Doherty, Chief Operating Officer & Investment Advisor, IFG Asia

There are many things that expats need to consider when assessing the overall framework of their financial planning – bank accounts, pensions, life cover, medical insurance – but the one that is most often ignored is writing a Will. After many years of giving financial planning advice, my simple explanation is that nobody wants to think about ‘the end’, let alone put it in writing.

Dying intestate (without a Will) whilst living in a foreign country can be particularly time consuming and troublesome for family members who have to sort it out, indeed the legal costs and paperwork can mount up very quickly indeed. The process can run into years, not months!

It is not just the lack of a Will that is a problem, it is also the lack of a schedule of assets. Do you have a defined list of your assets? Have you scheduled them with contact details, email addresses? Have the investments and accounts you hold changed name/ ownership over the years? This is time consuming and a thankless task, but forms an essential part of the succession planning process. If you do nothing else after reading this article, please do this.

For those who have only recently moved abroad, the task may be quite straightforward, but for longer term expats who have accumulated assets in various countries over the years, it can appear to be somewhat complex. To make it easy for you to think about, a general rule would be to have a will in every country where you hold assets.

The task of writing a Will need be no more complicated than opening a bank account, and in the new era of anti-money laundering paperwork, one could argue is actually a lot simpler...

Read more at Expat Focus: Money

No comments: