BORNEO Post with the expert help of Rockwills Trustee Bhd, the leading specialist in estate planning having pioneered wills and trust 26 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: Dear Rockwills, my father has a licensed gun for hunting. May I know what should I do with the gun after he has passed away? Can he give his gun away using a will?
Rockwills Answer: Your father can include his firearm in his will and instruct in his will for his executor to distribute it to a named beneficiary. However, firearms can only be owned, possessed or used by those with firearms licence. Hence, the beneficiary must have the necessary firearms licence in order to be qualified to receive and own the firearm. Upon the event of your father’s passing, under all circumstances, the executor named in the will must first surrender the firearm together with its ammunitions (if any) to the police. Thereafter, the beneficiary must apply and comply with all conditions for ownership of the said firearm (including background checks on the beneficiary). Ultimately, the issuance of the licence is subject to approval from the police. Hence, it is of utmost importance that your father appoints an executor who can act swiftly, and is well versed with the law and the procedures at the different departments within the police force. A trust company as your father’s will or estate executor should be seriously considered in view of your father’s unique position and needs.
Question 2: I own a restaurant and a few of my secret recipes is what makes my restaurant successful. I am keeping the recipe for myself so long as I am still operating it, but can I use a will to give away my restaurant along with the recipe?
Rockwills Answer: If your restaurant business is carried on under the name of your company, giving it away using a will would be straightforward by willing away the shares in the company. However, it is not so straightforward if the restaurant business is owned by you as sole proprietor or by a partnership in which you are a partner. Under the law, the ownership of a proprietorship business or a share in a partnership cannot be passed to others upon death. The only way to legally transfer ownership then is to enter into a buy-sell agreement with another or others while alive. As for your recipes, it would require some special instructions in your will and physical storage in sealed/encrypted storage to prevent leakage to unauthorised persons and to be handed over to a selected beneficiary only after your demise. We suggest that you consult an experienced estate planner to take this further.
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]).