Our Services

 
Wills

Without a Will, the Court of Probate (court order authorising the distribution of your assets) makes decisions on your behalf – this is usually not what you want and leaves your loved ones to go through a lengthy and often stressful process. This could also include guardianship of your minor children.

Regardless of how much or how little money you have, a will ensures that whatever personal belongings and assets you do have will go to the beneficiaries you designate. If you own a business, a will can help ensure the smooth legal transition of these assets and the business to continue.

  • If you die without a will, it is a costly exercise to gain ownership of your assets. Probate can cost between 3%-7% of the value of your estate, even with a will.
  • If you have assets in other countries, you will need separate (original) wills for the different probate rules per country.
  • If you are in a civil partnership, many countries will not recognise this under their Intestacy Rules, and your partner will not inherit unless you have written a will.
  • If you are in a blended family or have remarried, you will need to change your original will or write a clear updated one.
  • If you have minor children, you should write a will to determine at what age they inherit. The default age is 18 years of age.
  • If you are a business owner or partner, writing a will can ensure the safe transfer of your shares.

There are also other benefits to having a Will, including tax efficiency by helping to avoid Death/Estate taxes.

The clearer your instructions, the faster it is to pass on your assets to your loved ones, and the less costly to your estate (your loved ones must pay bills out of your asset value.)

 
Trusts

Trusts are not just for the rich, you don’t have to own a lot, can set one up at any age as an adult and they do not cost a fortune anymore.

Benefits of a living trust (you set up before you die):-

  • Immediate access for named beneficiaries (do not have to wait for court permission)
  • If both parents die, then your executor does not have to set up a trust for your children (they cannot inherit until 18) as you would have set your own rules
  • The beneficiary of your will could be your trust – everything you own gets placed into the trust when you die
  • Ensure that the right people receive at the right time – also, exclude the wrong people
  • Trusts are private – Your will contents are public knowledge when it is read
  • If you become incapacitated or infirmed, a trust can ensure that costs are met and that you are financially looked throughout your care
  • Many countries charge death or inheritance taxes and certain trusts can mitigate or remove these
  • Save your estate money! You would be aware of the costs of your own trust but if you leave all of your assets to go through your will (probate,) this could be 3% – 7% of the value of your estate

Alternatively, you can write a testimonial (Will) trust and have your Executor/s place your assets into a trust when you die, however, you are giving them the control of the rules and can only do this once the Grant of Probate (will has been read) has been given, which could take months, even years, even with a valid Will.

This process does not have to be complicated or costly and can be set up within a short period of time.

 
Guardianship

Hong Kong has no room for the standard orphanage facilities – there are voluntary foster parents. If both parents or the guardian parent dies, you need to appoint someone to look after your children if they are under the age of 18 or an appointed foster parent would look after them until guardian/s are established.

It is horrible to imagine but you would need someone to look after them in Hong Kong, if the permanent guardian/s are coming from overseas, therefore appointing a temporary guardian with the HK Appointment of Guardianship form and a permanent with a Deed of Guardianship.

Ideally, guardians should be appointed in a will and a Deed; which gives guardians immediate access to the children, whereas a will alone usually takes more time to present to the courts.

During these Covid-19 times, it is also advisable to have a temporary guardian to substitute you, in case you are quarantined, hospitalised, stranded (in a different country) … lots of reasons at the moment for parents to be separated from their children.

An Enduring Guardianship form should also be completed to ensure that your children are continually looked after, no matter what the event.

These documents can be written and become valid within a short space of time and adds peace of mind to your daily life.

 
Digital Wills

In the pre-internet day, death was a relatively simple affair. The belongings of the deceased would be sorted through, boxed up, and divided among family and friends to act as a tangible reminder of life. A Will often called a “Last Will and Testament”, is a legal document that allows a person to give instructions on what to do with their possessions once they pass away. 

However, what happens to your digital assets and online presence when the inevitable happens?

Suddenly finding all the accounts and passwords for business and personal accounts become a real challenge.

Cryptocurrency trading has become more and more popular and usually, there is only one password holder – you! 

A digital Will allows you to manage the fate of your online presence and assets in one document, without having to make arrangements with each site individually as not all sites allow you to do this. Your website names, website addresses, usernames, passwords, and any other relevant information like security questions and answers will be stored in one place ensuring your family has everything they need when the time comes.

Many people do not make plans for their digital presence or digital assets which means their loved ones will struggle to make sense of it all.

 
Company Protection

If you are a business owner and/or have shares in a company, you will need Company Protection to ensure that the value of your hard work can pass onto your loved ones.

A business is only as good as its people. Although you may have implemented plans to protect your buildings and equipment, it’s important you don’t forget about protecting one of your most important assets – your people.

Losing an owner, shareholder or a key person who plays a fundamental role in the operation and growth of your business could have a devastating impact on your business.

Company protection can help reduce this impact.

Key Person Protection

If you have someone in your company that holds the key to your customers, then this person is more valuable than a salary. This person is someone whose knowledge, creativity, inspiration and/or skills critical to the viability or growth of a company, and whose loss could basically cripple it.

The company should consider how this person would be replaced financially if the key person died or became incapacitated.

Shareholder Protection

The old adage, “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket” is a logical step to follow throughout life but when we put out heart and soul into our own business, sometimes we need to use all of our resources to get going.

Therefore, you should protect the “basket.”

If you died or became incapacitated, there should be funds available in the company for the exchange of the shares that your spouse or loved ones would receive.

Without these funds, your loved ones have no financial value and your company has people who nothing about the business (usually) own the shares. This can also destroy a business and prevent your partner/s from moving on.

 
Civil Partnership

If you are in a Civil Partnership, you definitely need a will to pass on your assets to your spouse in Hong Kong.

There are 29 countries in the world that perform and recognise same-sex marriages with a further 5 that recognise only whilst you are alive

Hong Kong only “recognises” same-sex marriages so you can apply for a dependent spouse-visa, can have a joint bank account BUT should you die, the rules do not accept your same-sex marriage. Under HK Intestacy Laws, you should be a man and woman.

Therefore, you need to write a will to pass your assets onto your spouse.

Intestacy Laws in the country of your assets would be imposed and if your civil partnership is not recognised, your assets would be distributed according to the laws.

A Will can ensure that assets are distributed according to your wishes, not the (old) laws of the land; and save financial heartbreak for your loved one.

 
Cross-Border Planning

When we marry or move to another country or invest in an asset away from home, we rarely consider the overall tax status that we put ourselves in. Also, anytime as an expatriate, our lifestyle can change based on our children’s future path; their best friends at school may not be the same nationality, our friends are from different cultures and backgrounds and a lot of us have lived in different countries throughout our career. Maybe we will go home, maybe not?

You should consider cross-border planning if any of these apply to your family background:

  • You have a spouse from a different country
  • Your children were born in different countries
  • You have assets in different countries
  • You are being relocated to a different country
  • You intend to retire in a different country

All of this can complicate our estate planning:

  • Does my spouse’s nationality have an effect on my current or future tax status?
  • Will my children have to pay tax? Can I gift now to remove some or all?
  • What happens to my wealth if I pass away prematurely? How will my loved ones inherit if my assets are all over the globe?
  • Who will look after my wealth for my children?
  • Where shall we retire? How will this affect our income and taxes? Can assets be mitigated against taxes? How much will I need to live off?

Organisation, provision, and preparation for events that may occur in the future will give you more choices and provide you with peace of mind in what you are trying to achieve, for your loved ones too.

 
UK Citizens

UK Passport holders, please read …

Anyone that is UK Domicile at the time that they die will have their global assets valued for Inheritance Tax (IHT) to be paid to the UK tax office – HMRC.

This is 40% (on all assets) above the nil rate band of GBP325,000. If you are married to another UK Domicile then your assets pass to each other tax free, but your children would then get a bill of 40% above your joint estate value of GBP650,000. If your spouse is not UK Domicile then he or she would get a tax bill of 40% above GBP650,000.

There is further allowance for UK property ownership if you leave via your will to children as beneficiaries.

The term Domicile is associated with where HMRC classes your home. Residence is to do with income tax BUT Domicile is to collect IHT. It is important to know the difference.

Although you, as a UK Citizen, have lived outside of the UK for a “long time” you need to have established a Domicile of Choice elsewhere to “add” to your UK Domicile. This is estimated as around 15+ years in one country and you are to have given up most ties to the UK (personal ownership of assets.) This would remove global IHT and HMRC would only apply tax to the UK assets.

If you have “lived outside the UK” for any number of years and not established a permanent home elsewhere you are still UK Domicile!

The UK Government raised over GBP5.4 billion in 2018/2019 so they are serious about collecting this tax, which is also avoidable if planned for properly.

Many Brits do not even know that they fall into the trap of having to pay IHT on their global assets as the rules are confusing and totally personalised to your own situation.

Inheritance Tax is the most avoidable as you can plan to ensure that your loved ones pay the minimum or none at all.

 
Watch the video (Wills vs Trusts):

Wills

Without a Will, the Court of Probate (court order authorising the distribution of your assets) makes decisions on your behalf – this is often not what we would choose and leaves your loved ones to go through a lengthy and often stressful process. This could also include guardianship of your minor children.

Regardless of how much or how little money you have, a will ensures that whatever personal belongings and assets you do have will go to the beneficiaries you designate. If you own a business, a will can help ensure the smooth legal transition of these assets and the business to continue.

  • If you die without a will, it is a costly exercise to gain ownership of your assets. Probate can cost between 3%-7% of the value of your estate, even with a will.
  • If you have assets in other countries, you will need separate (original) wills for the different probate rules per country.
  • If you are in a civil partnership, many countries will not recognise this under their Intestacy Rules, and your partner will not inherit unless you have written a will.
  • If you are in a blended family or have re-married, you will need to change your original will or write a clear updated one.
  • If you have minor children, you should write a will to determine at what age they inherit. The default age is 18 years of age.
  • If you are a business owner or partner, writing a will can ensure the safe transfer of your shares.

There are also other benefits to having a Will, including tax efficiency by helping to avoid Death/Estate taxes.

The clearer your instructions, the faster it is to pass on your assets to your loved ones, and the less costly to your estate (your loved ones must pay bills out of your asset value.)

Trusts

Trusts are not just for the rich, you don’t have to own a lot, can set one up at any age as an adult and they do not cost a fortune anymore.

Benefits of a living trust (you set up before you die):-

  • Immediate access for named beneficiaries (do not have to wait for court permission)
  • If both parents die, then your executor does not have to set up a trust for your children (they cannot inherit until 18) as you would have set your own rules
  • The beneficiary of your will could be your trust – everything you own gets placed into the trust when you die
  • Ensure that the right people receive at the right time – also, exclude the wrong people
  • Trusts are private – Your will contents are public knowledge when it is read.
  • If you become incapacitated or infirmed, a trust can ensure that costs are met and that you are financially looked throughout your care.
  • Many countries charge death or inheritance taxes and certain trusts can mitigate or remove these.
  • Save your estate money! You would be aware of the costs of your own trust but if you leave all of your assets to go through your will (probate,) this could be 3% – 7% of the value of your estate.

Alternatively, you can write a testimonial (Will) trust and have your Executor/s place your assets into a trust when you die, however, you are giving them the control of the rules and can only do this once the Grant of Probate (will has been read) has been given, which could take months, even years, even with a valid Will.

This process does not have to be complicated or costly and can be set up within a short period of time.

Guardianship

Hong Kong has no room for the standard orphanage facilities – there are voluntary foster parents. If both parents or the guardian parent dies, you need to appoint someone to look after your children if they are under the age of 18 or an appointed foster parent would look after them until guardian/s are established.

It is horrible to imagine but you would need someone to look after them in Hong Kong, if the permanent guardian/s are coming from overseas, therefore appointing a temporary guardian with the HK Appointment of Guardianship form and a permanent with a Deed of Guardianship.

Ideally, guardians should be appointed in a will and a Deed; which gives guardians immediate access to the children, whereas a will alone usually takes more time to present to the courts.

During these Covid-19 times, it is also advisable to have a temporary guardian to substitute you, in case you are quarantined, hospitalised, stranded (in a different country) … lots of reasons at the moment for parents to be separated from their children.

An Enduring Guardianship form should also be completed to ensure that your children are continually looked after, no matter what the event.

These documents can be written and become valid within a short space of time and adds peace of mind to your daily life.

Digital Wills

In the pre-internet day, death was a relatively simple affair. The belongings of the deceased would be sorted through, boxed up, and divided among family and friends to act as a tangible reminder of life. A Will often called a “Last Will and Testament”, is a legal document that allows a person to give instructions on what to do with their possessions once they pass away. 

However, what happens to your digital assets and online presence when the inevitable happens?

Suddenly finding all the accounts and passwords for business and personal accounts become a real challenge.

Cryptocurrency trading has become more and more popular and usually, there is only one password holder – you! 

A digital Will allows you to manage the fate of your online presence and assets in one document, without having to make arrangements with each site individually as not all sites allow you to do this. Your website names, website addresses, usernames, passwords, and any other relevant information like security questions and answers will be stored in one place ensuring your family has everything they need when the time comes.

Many people do not make plans for their digital presence or digital assets which means their loved ones will struggle to make sense of it all.

Company Protection

If you are a business owner and/or have shares in a company, you will need Company Protection to ensure that the value of your hard work can pass onto your loved ones.

A business is only as good as its people. Although you may have implemented plans to protect your buildings and equipment, it’s important you don’t forget about protecting one of your most important assets – your people.

Losing an owner, shareholder or a key person who plays a fundamental role in the operation and growth of your business could have a devastating impact on your business.

Company protection can help reduce this impact.

Key Person Protection

If you have someone in your company that holds the key to your customers, then this person is more valuable than a salary. This person is someone whose knowledge, creativity, inspiration and/or skills critical to the viability or growth of a company, and whose loss could basically cripple it.

The company should consider how this person would be replaced financially if the key person died or became incapacitated.

Shareholder Protection

The old adage, “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket” is a logical step to follow throughout life but when we put out heart and soul into our own business, sometimes we need to use all of our resources to get going.

Therefore, you should protect the “basket.”

If you died or became incapacitated, there should be funds available in the company for the exchange of the shares that your spouse or loved ones would receive.

Without these funds, your loved ones have no financial value and your company has people who nothing about the business (usually) own the shares. This can also destroy a business and prevent your partner/s from moving on.

Civil Partnership

If you are in a Civil Partnership, you definitely need a will to pass on your assets to your spouse in Hong Kong.

There are 29 countries in the world that perform and recognise same-sex marriages with a further 5 that recognise only whilst you are alive

Hong Kong only “recognises” same-sex marriages so you can apply for a dependent spouse-visa, can have a joint bank account BUT should you die, the rules do not accept your same-sex marriage. Under HK Intestacy Laws, you should be a man and woman.

Therefore, you need to write a will to pass your assets onto your spouse.

Intestacy Laws in the country of your assets would be imposed and if your civil partnership is not recognised, your assets would be distributed according to the laws.

A Will can ensure that assets are distributed according to your wishes, not the (old) laws of the land; and save financial heartbreak for your loved one.

Cross-Border Planning

When we marry or move to another country or invest in an asset away from home, we rarely consider the overall tax status that we put ourselves in. Also, anytime as an expatriate, our lifestyle can change based on our children’s future path; their best friends at school may not be the same nationality, our friends are from different cultures and backgrounds and a lot of us have lived in different countries throughout our career. Maybe we will go home, maybe not?

You should consider cross-border planning if any of these apply to your family background:

  • You have a spouse from a different country
  • Your children were born in different countries
  • You have assets in different countries
  • You are being relocated to a different country
  • You intend to retire in a different country

All of this can complicate our estate planning:

  • Does my spouse’s nationality have an effect on my current or future tax status?
  • Will my children have to pay tax? Can I gift now to remove some or all?
  • What happens to my wealth if I pass away prematurely? How will my loved ones inherit if my assets are all over the globe?
  • Who will look after my wealth for my children?
  • Where shall we retire? How will this affect our income and taxes? Can assets be mitigated against taxes? How much will I need to live off?

Organisation, provision, and preparation for events that may occur in the future will give you more choices and provide you with peace of mind in what you are trying to achieve, for your loved ones too.

UK Citizens

UK Passport holders, please read …

Anyone that is UK Domicile at the time that they die will have their global assets valued for Inheritance Tax (IHT) to be paid to the UK tax office – HMRC.

This is 40% (on all assets) above the nil rate band of GBP325,000. If you are married to another UK Domicile then your assets pass to each other tax free, but your children would then get a bill of 40% above your joint estate value of GBP650,000. If your spouse is not UK Domicile then he or she would get a tax bill of 40% above GBP650,000.

There is further allowance for UK property ownership if you leave via your will to children as beneficiaries.

The term Domicile is associated with where HMRC classes your home. Residence is to do with income tax BUT Domicile is to collect IHT. It is important to know the difference.

Although you, as a UK Citizen, have lived outside of the UK for a “long time” you need to have established a Domicile of Choice elsewhere to “add” to your UK Domicile. This is estimated as around 15+ years in one country and you are to have given up most ties to the UK (personal ownership of assets.) This would remove global IHT and HMRC would only apply tax to the UK assets.

If you have “lived outside the UK” for any number of years and not established a permanent home elsewhere you are still UK Domicile!

The UK Government raised over GBP5.4 billion in 2018/2019 so they are serious about collecting this tax, which is also avoidable if planned for properly.

Many Brits do not even know that they fall into the trap of having to pay IHT on their global assets as the rules are confusing and totally personalised to your own situation.

Inheritance Tax is the most avoidable as you can plan to ensure that your loved ones pay the minimum or none at all.

Contact Us

We’re here to help and answer any question you might have. We look forward to hearing from you.

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