The undeniable benefits of planning ahead
All successful journeys to creating wealth include an element of international diversification by investing or moving assets abroad.
This is not only prudent, but also a pragmatic step that opens up exciting new opportunities to help you build a lasting legacy.
Preserving that legacy, however, can be a complex and precarious process if you neglect to take the necessary estate planning precautions.
“A key contributor to long-term wealth preservation is planning,” says Kazmee Hussenbocus, Business Development Manager at Standard Bank Wealth International in Mauritius. “This applies equally to planning what happens after your departure as it does to creating your wealth plan.”
In the absence of proper estate planning, the process to wrap up an estate can become a drawn-out, costly process.
Hussenbocus says the main complexities lie in differences in the handling estates in different jurisdictions.
For instance, Standard Bank is not able to release moveable assets held by non-residents in Jersey worth more than £10 000 unless a Jersey Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration are received.
“It’s possible to cover your Jersey assets in your Will in your country of residence, but this would then entail the extra step of a local court process to ‘prove’ the Will. Only then can a Jersey Grant of Probate be issued by a Jersey appointed agent.
“The problem is therefore not in releasing the assets or finalising the estate, but in the additional delays that can be expected. Typically, probate is relatively quick in the UK and Jersey taking 3 to6 weeks but is often much longer in other parts of the world, where delays will add to the cost and significantly draw out the process for the grieving family.”
Hussenbocus says that while it’s not a legal requirement to do so, it is possible to draw up a separate Jersey Will. This process would include the appointment of a Jersey-based executor who can immediately proceed with application of the Grant and be able to administer the estate in a matter of weeks.
Opting to take this route is far more time efficient, allowing the prompt release of liquidity so that family members can access funds or settle debts.
“The process for putting a Jersey Will in place is straightforward and the cost of doing so is often negligible when compared to the value of the assets,” Hussenbocus says. “There are a host of Jersey-based professional firms able to handle Will drafting to ensure that your wishes are executed.
“In our experience, once clients understand the various estate planning tools that are available to them when they have assets sitting in the UK and Jersey, they tend to make full use of those options.”
For instance, heirs might be minor children, or possibly young adults not yet able to apply the necessary financial restraint, or assets could be earmarked for a specific purpose such as the education of future generations.
In these instances, a Jersey Will could be used to bequeath the assets into a Stand-By Trust set up to manage accumulated funds according to the benefactor’s wishes. As the name suggests, such a Trust remains dormant until assets are introduced at a particular trigger event.
Such a structure would be managed by a Trustee to ensure the proper management of funds as intended.
If you would like to explore your options or find out what Estate Planning options are open to you, please don’t hesitate to speak to your relationship manager, or find out more here.