Wills: The Basics

As discussed in a recent post, there is a lot to consider when it comes to estate planning. But the first main fundamental is a will.

What is a will
You can think of a will as a contract with your future, as instructions on how your hard-earned assets will be distributed. It can be as simple as how monies will be shared among your family, friends, and colleagues or as complex as how your business interests and investments are executed after you’re gone.

Things to consider
There is plenty of do-it-yourself advice available if your requirements are relatively simple or if you have the time and wherewithal to go through the process on your own.

But sometimes you may need professional advice. “You would be surprised how quickly writing a will can get complicated,” says Richard Cayne.

What are you leaving behind? While you don’t have to have an inventory down to count of your socks, you should make sure that anything of value, monetary or otherwise, is bequeathed to the person you deem best for it.

Who are you leaving behind? This is a two-fold consideration. First, there are your beneficiaries who will be entrusted with your assets. Then there are any dependents – do you need to consider appointing a guardian to take care of them? You may have to have some serious, possibly uncomfortable, conversations before making any decisions.

“You must be specific with your wishes,” continues Richard. “Unfortunately, you won’t be around to explain.”

Who will make sure all this happens as you planned? Appointing an executor to take care of implementing your will can be complicated as well. Should it be a friend or colleague? Should it be a bank or law firm? Should they be paid for doing this? If so, how much?

And in addition to all this, you have tax and legal concerns. Your will must comply with the laws of the countries where you have assets or have business interests. Many countries have some form of estate or inheritance tax that could impact how you distribute your wealth. If you have any uncertainties, it might be worth it to ask for help.

To continue this conversation, contact Richard at Meyer International.

About Richard Cayne
Richard Cayne is originally from Montreal, Canada, and currently resides in Bangkok Thailand with his wife Akiko Cayne and their two young children. He runs the Meyer Group of Companies (www.meyerjapan.com).  Previously, he resided in Tokyo, Japan, for over 15 years, advising high-net worth Japanese families.

Richard has over 19 years of experience creating innovative international tax and wealth management solutions.
He is also currently the CEO of Asia Wealth Group Holdings Limited (http://www.asiawealthgroup.com), an ISDX (ICAP Securities & Derivatives Exchange, a London-based stock exchange) listed Financial Holdings Company.