A dear client sadly passed away leaving a wife and two step-children. He was American and the wife Filippino (she was very hesitant about signing documents to do with either one dying.)

I encouraged them to write their wills but also encouraged a family (living trust) whereby assets were placed that can be distributed as soon as needed by a named beneficiary.

John died 6 months later and whilst all documents were in place to claim his assets, the will proceeds took 17 months to finally distribute as the courts needed further clarification on named persons. The trust was relied on to collect money for the family and was distributed as soon as requested.

The delay on the will was that they were married in Samoa so the HK courts wanted clarification on the marriage certificate. This had to go via Beijing to Samoa then back to Beijing back to HK.

As you can imagine, the family needed money immediately to continue with school fees and monthly maintenance costs - rent, food, utilities. If John had not set up the trust with the wills, the family would have experienced financial hardship so it is always worthwhile to consider the contingency arrangements that need to be put in place to ensure that your loved ones do not experience a financial gap.

The proceeds of the will contents also went into the trust so that the next beneficiary (named loved ones) can receive without time delays or additional costs.

Estate planning does not have to be complex but should be thorough and I would be delighted to help you understand more of what you and your loved ones would need to put in place.