Wednesday, December 7

Ask and We WILL Answer

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THE BORNEO POST with the expert help of Rockwills Trustee Bhd, the leading specialist in estate planning having pioneered wills and trust 27 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 friend and I bought a property in Kuala Lumpur many years ago and we rented it out as homestays. While i chipped in my share of the money when we bought the house, the property is under my friend’s name. Can my family continue to receive my share of rent from my friend after I pass away? If not, what are the options?

Answer: Even though you and your friend bought a property together, the title is only in your friend’s name and he or she is the only one who owns it legally. Thus, unless there is a written agreement between you and your friend, your family may not have the right to request for the rent from your friend if your friend decides not to give it.

As the property is located in Peninsular Malaysia, we advise you and your friend to have a proper discussion about how this property will benefit both of you, including the rental income and ownership, and to set up a trust to detail all of the agreed-upon distribution rules should something unfortunate happen to either of you.

A trust is a fiduciary document which has to be set up by both of you. The asset will then be managed by a trustee and it will be distributed to the beneficiaries following the instructions listed down in trust when any trigger events happen to one of you.

By using a trust, both of you can determine when and how your beneficiaries will have the access to the asset or its proceeds when sold.

We recommend you and your friend to seek help from a professional estate planner as he or she could provide holistic estate planning advice and comprehensive solutions according to the needs and concerns of both of you.

 

Question 2: I am thinking about including my son’s girlfriend in my will. They have been together for some time, and I think she is quite a pleasant lady.

Although they are not married, I already see her as my daughter-in-law. But no one would really know what the future might hold, they may eventually get married or may break up. My concern is, if I still give her my wealth when they have broken up, would my family, especially my son, be unhappy about it? Ultimately, my wish is still to give her some of my wealth, she’s like a daughter that I never had.

Answer: Yes, you can include your son’s girlfriend as a beneficiary in your will. We understand your concerns that you want to take the beneficiaries’ feelings into account when deciding the distribution manner so that their relationships with one another remain harmonious.

If your son and his girlfriend had actually broken up and your family found out that she will be inheriting some of your wealth during the will reading session, your son may be unhappy with your will’s instructions.

As it is still your will, you are free to benefit anyone, following your wishes or intention. Hence, in order to better express your intention to leave some of your wealth to your son’s girlfriend, you can include your parting messages in your will as well as to explain the reason why you did so.

Estate planning is a very delicate matter that requires careful planning. Careless instructions could destroy a loving family. We suggest you consult an experienced estate planner to help you work out an effective estate planning to benefit the persons you care for.

 

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 bizhive@theborneopost.com or Rockwills’ training and business development assistant general manager Sam Chan (samchan@rockwills.com).