Borneo Post with the expert help of Rockwills Trustee Bhd, the leading specialist in estate planning having pioneered wills and trust 24 years ago, is publishing a regular Q&A column on estate planning. It will feature questions which readers have in mind but don’t know who to ask:
Question 1: My wife and I have no children, but we have two dogs to keep us company. We love our dogs so much, and they are like our own children. I wonder if I can do anything for them if I were to pass away before them, who would take care of them?
Rockwills Answer: It is widely accepted that dogs are men’s best friend, but in many cases dogs are considered part of the family.
Although dogs are not recognized in law as legal persons, a trust can still be set up for the purpose of providing for your dogs’ needs when you are no longer around to care for them.
So long as you are able to appoint a person as a pet guardian in the trust deed to care for your dogs, the fund you provide in a trust can be used to provide for your dogs’ expenses such as food, supplements, grooming, medical and any other essential needs for their wellbeing until their death.
For your pet guardian to be willing to take care of your dogs, not only do you need to relieve him of the financial burden of feeding and caring for the dogs, you may need to provide a small fee for his trouble. Currently, we are the only trust company that provides Pet Trust in Malaysia, we suggest that you speak to our Estate Planners for more details.
Question 2: I have three children and I hope to keep a tradition to giving them Ang Pow every Chinese new year even I have passed away. Is that possible?
Rockwills Answer: We do have many clients who have similar wishes like yours. Keeping a cultural tradition alive while you have passed away is possible by setting up a trust.
Do note that although the instructions may sound simple, these may create disputes if the instructions are vague.
Depending on how your instructions are worded, these can be as simple as giving a fixed amount Ang Pow during Chinese New Year to the extent of providing funding for the family reunion dinner and only to give Ang Pow to those who are present.
Instructions like this would require proper thought and planning especially in ensuring fair treatment. Issues such as whether or not the family member did attend the dinner and to what limit should spending for the dinner be allowed.
Such instructions can be provided for other festive celebrations such as Christmas, birthday of a family member or even Qingming events. Do speak to an experienced estate planner so that your trust could be set up to carry out your wishes properly.
This Q&A column in published as a joint public service and educational initiative with Rockwills Trustee Bhd. Please email your questions related to Estate Planning to [email protected] or Rockwills’ training and business development senior manager Sam Chan ([email protected]).