For most professional expats in Singapore, we’re focused on earning and building our wealth, rather than spending the time to review how you’ll pass it on. It’s important that you set time aside to start your estate planning journey. This is an important first step, but you must remember, this is just the first step.
Once you’ve designed your estate plan, you need to work with a professional team to implement the necessary steps. Here are some of the more common mistakes to avoid when implementing your own estate plan:
1. Forgetting about your plan
If you’ve written your Will and nominated Guardians for your children, congratulations, this is an important step in implementing your estate plan. However, you must remember to review your Will on a regular basis, and particularly when your circumstances change. A University of Queensland study revealed that 59% of Australians have a Will, but conducting a regular review is rarely carried out. Many factors in our lives change on a regular basis and you must ensure that your Will reflects your current wishes and financial information.
2. Ignoring your dependants
If you have financial dependants that are not ‘adequately provided for’, then there is a chance that they will contest your Will. This doesn’t mean that all of your dependants must be included, however you should identify in your Will if you have deliberately left someone out. If there is someone that you do wish to leave out of your Will, whether an ex-partner or other family member, it’s important to seek professional advice.
3. Specify how your debts will be repaid
Before your assets are distributed, you may wish to ensure that your debts are cleared. Remember to be as specific as possible about how your debts will be repaid, otherwise you may find that there are unintended consequences for your family members and beneficiaries.
4. Not nominating guardians
If you have young children or family members with a disability that require constant care, you must ensure that you’ve nominated Temporary and Permanent Guardians. Should the unforeseen happen to you, your permanent guardians will be the ones that look after your children going forward. If you’re working in Singapore and your permanent guardians reside in Australia, or elsewhere, it could be wise to nominate temporary guardians in Singapore to look after your children while waiting on the permanent guardians.
5. Ignoring your superannuation
Superannuation is one of our most valuable, and tax-efficient, vehicles, and for most of us, will form a large part of our estate. It’s important that you consider your superannuation distribution strategies, rather than simply assuming it will bypass your estate in a tax-free manner. Consider what instructions and powers your executor may need to distribute your superannuation according to your wishes.
There are many important steps to completing and implementing your personal estate plan. Remember, seek professional advice and ensure that your wishes will be carried out as you intend.
To Your Financial Success!
Jarrad Brown is an Australian-trained and qualified Independent Fee-Based Financial Adviser with Australian Expatriate Group of Global Financial Consultants Pte Ltd providing specialist financial advice and portfolio management services to international and local professionals in Singapore.
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Jarrad Brown is an Authorised Representative of Global Financial Consultants Pte Ltd – No: 200305462G | MAS License No: FA100035-3
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