Saturday, January 25

Ask, and we will answer

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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 father had entrusted me with RM 100,000 to take care of my siblings when he passes away as I’m the eldest son. If I were to pass away, how can I hand over this responsibility?

Rockwills Answer: You can use a will (which needs to wait for a grant of probate) or a trust (which does not) to hand over such responsibility, but you will need to identify a person who is both willing and able to do so.

Such a person should be trustworthy and committed to carry out this responsibility for you. Just like what your late father thought when he entrusted you with the money.

He would have considered that you were the most suitable person for this as you could be a very responsible and caring person while diligent enough to prevent the money being used for unintended purposes.

If you have already identified the person who can take on this responsibility, then you can use a will or trust to appoint him to act as the trustee.

The next part is to put down the instruction for the trustee on how the money should be used. This could be in accordance with what your late father has told you.

That person should also be familiar with the duties of a trustee. Failing which he might expose himself to legal liability for negligence or loss to the funds which your late father left behind.

If there are no suitable persons to be appointed as the trustee, you may consider appointing an experienced trust company to carry out the responsibility.

A trust company such as Rockwills Trustee Bhd has many advantages over an individual trustee as they are:

  • Professional and Impartial
  • Experienced in administering trust funds
  • Having perpetual existence

Question 2: I collect antiques, particularly old cameras. Can these be included in my will to be given to my children or to be sold off?

Rockwills Answer: You can include personal collections such as antiques into your Will by writing the details of those items into your will.

Take your cameras as an example, you can mention the brand of your camera, the model and serial number if any, so that your executor can identify which camera is to be given to which beneficiary.

If you have antiques that do not contain such details, then you can take photos of these and attach the details into your Will as reference. We generally do not recommend our clients to direct their executor to sell off their personal collections as it can be a challenge to determine the market value.

If the executor sold off the item at a price that your beneficiary finds inappropriate, then legal disputes may occur. It is best to give such collection items to your beneficiary and let them decide whether they want to sell it.

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 assistant general manager Sam Chan ([email protected]).