Sam Orgill of ProACT Partnership discusses the ‘what if’s’
When you are Living or Working Abroad the what ifs in life become more complicated.
Crossing borders with people, assets or money brings complications even simple matters of family and business life.
What are your options and what is the best way to protect your family, property and business assets?
Birth, Death, Marriage, Business Start Up, Property Purchase, Property Sale, Savings, Investment are all impacted by laws and conventions with the owner’s relocation, health, sickness and death.
What is best for your family?
Professional advice are ‘opinions’ based upon laws & regulations. There is also an element of local practice and ‘norms’. These vary by country and legal systems so you cannot expect the same in different locations.
Some incomes and assets move with us, so are subject to the tax and laws of the country where we live.
Other incomes and assets are fixed in the country where they are based or born.
Some income, assets and people can move freely, others are subject to rules and taxes.
To manage your affairs across borders at some point you need to trust a third party.
This could be someone to clean your swimming pool or run your business or manage your investments. Whomsoever you need to choose someone who is willing and able and to trust them to help to manage your affairs – whatever and in any circumstances.
Willing to Trust
A first step for any family is to Make a Will. Whether a basic online Will with simple directions and instructions or a more detailed one to protect loved ones’ income, property, investment and business assets. Remember you only die once, so Make your Will a good one – for your loved ones.
If there is no Will on death the local laws of intestacy would apply. This varies by country and could mean a widow losing a home, or family control of business. Forced heirship down blood lines can exclude family or business with mixed parentage, or mean assets are taxed when a family but not blood relative inherits.
These are good reasons to talk to expat experts and review the best set up for you.
If you Make a simple Will then at least appoint family members as executors to control the administration of the estate and ensure your wishes are carried out for your families benefit.
Giving on Trust
Even if you Make a Will then you don’t avoid estate duties, inheritance tax, capital gains taxes and the cost and delay of Probate. If you give it away in your lifetime you can avoid taxes, probate, expense – but sadly not death.
Giving to a Family Trust is an effective Lifetime Will strategy that allows you to manage your wealth in property, investments and business shares in such a way that it could provide during your lifetime, and after your death, secure income for you, your widow, your children and grandchildren.
No family, no problem, choose the people or charity you want to benefit.
Most of all by securing your wealth, property, savings and business in a Family Trust you also avoid the cost and delay of probate.
Think of a funeral plan. You set up a funeral plan you trust the service to avoid the cost, planning and organisation of your funeral on death with a service that meets your wishes.
A Family Trust organises everything in your world to pass to family in the way you want without the family executors having to start from scratch…. and nota bene expats families are spread around the world.
Creating your Family Trust could provide peace of mind, save tax and expense.
Getting Settled in Peace
Where can I settle my world wide estate on death?
In the EU you must settle your world wide estate in the country in which you are resident at the date of death.
Some Expats can settle some or all of their estate through a UK Will – not if EU based.
If you come from the UK you may well have a liability to UK Inheritance tax at 40% on your worldwide assets – even if you live overseas.
UK inheritance tax is due and payable in cash within 6 months of death.
Even if you wish to settle your estate in one country, your family may still need to settle a probate administration in different countries to release property or investment assets.
If you have fixed assets ‘Real’ assets – land, property, business, cars, and shares – must be settled with probate in the country in which they exist. Note this includes UK premium bonds…
Personal assets – financials, chattels, jewels, art can be settled with probate in relevant country i.e. you can use your home country.
Will Safe & Secure
In Cyprus any Will must be stamped as a ‘deed’ to be legalised.
A Will could also be ‘lodged’ in court. If you store the Will in the court it is secure and in place in event of death. However, the Will cannot be varied, only destroyed.
You cannot control or vary the appointed executor of the lodged Will who controls the estate.
Any changes of birth, death, marriage, divorce requires that Will be destroyed.
Even to make minor changes you have to make a new Will, with the expense that incurs.
In the UK you cannot lodge the Will in the court until after death. This is the practice of ProACT – we offer Safe Will & Document Storage in Cyprus and allows revision of the Will over the years, the Will to be used in a different jurisdiction if required, and overseas family to have access to documents through a trusted 3rd party without cost and delay. In the event of death your family has a trusted third party to speak too.
Free Review and Advice
ProACT Partnership offers a Will review and advice service in Cyprus or online.
We offer advice and guidance for expats Living and Working Abroad for Property, Business and Investment Assets to protect the family from tax, expense and delay down the generations.