Singapore is a safe place to live. Medical treatment is world class, a lot of us travel for work and with one of the best airports in the world, we can easily explore SE Asia and beyond.
With work, travel, children, friends and everything we have to occupy us, it’s important to stop sometimes and run a quick safety check. Are we covered in the event of an emergency? Is the family safe? Have we forgotten anything?
Two of the most commonly overlooked safety checks are Wills and Guardianship Letters. But why are they so important, especially for expats?
How do Wills and Guardianship letters protect your children?
When most people think of Wills, they think about giving away their assets to beneficiaries. But as an expat parent, a Will has a far more important role to play, the role of protecting your children. Wills and Guardianship letters should be part of every Expats emergency tool kit.
If parents pass away, someone needs to care for their children. The question is who? Grandparents, siblings, friends? This is even more prominent if the parents are living away from their home country.
Relatives, and especially friends, cannot simply fly in, pick up children and fly home with them. They first need to be granted legal custody. A Will answers the above question of who. Knowing the parents’ wishes goes a long way to ensuring (but not guaranteeing) their chosen guardians will be granted custody.
The process of granting custody is not going to happen overnight and depends on many factors, like the guardian’s relationship to the children, what country they live in, do they have sufficient resources to take care of the children? Whilst custody is being granted, someone needs to take temporary care for the children. This comes back to the same question, who? It needs to be someone in Singapore, and it cannot be a maid or nanny. The Transitional Guardian Letter states who will look after children until full time guardians are in a position to take custody. Like the Will, it states the parents intention. Without clear intention, children may end up in temporary care, especially if there are no relatives living in Singapore.
Providing financial protection
Another important consideration is making sure children (and guardians) are financially provided for. This is one of the factors courts will look at when granting custody. It also ensures guardians have enough money to raise children. This may be cash, investments, property, or it may be a pay out from a life insurance policy. This raises more questions. Who looks after your children’s money? When do your children get it? What can it be spent on? How do you want them to be raised? All of these questions can be answered in your Will.
So, setting aside giving away the money in your estate, a Will protects something far more valuable; your children and your children’s future.
Simon Chegwidden has been advising clients for over 15 years and would be happy to answer any questions you have on Wills, Guardians, financial protection, investing and saving.
He can be contacted on +65 8433 6997 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org. Mention this article to get 25% off his Will Writing service and free Transitional Guardian Letters.
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