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Take Control Of Your Legacy

"Parents should leave children enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing."
... Warren Buffet.

"My Legacy, My Way."

The dilemma of how much to bequeath one's heirs is shared by many people. We have all seen the examples of the extravagance of the spoilt sisters, Paris and Nicky Hilton, heiresses to the global Hilton Hotel empire and we don't want our own hard earned money wasted in this fashion by our children. With thought and proper planning, you can control how and when your children receive their inheritance and help guide them even after you are gone. You can ensure that your values and standards are passed on to future generations.

If your circumstances require it, allocations for education and the care of minor children or elderly parents need to be considered and arrangements made so that amounts can be changed or adjusted for inflation as required. What may be a sufficient amount to look after your loved ones today may be inadequate 10 or even 5 years from now and this needs to be addressed. A provision for this only needs to be included in the Letter of Wishes.

Specific incentives can be included in the wealth distribution process to increase the likelihood of your children achieving goals and showing initiative, teaching them that hard work and personal achievement are the standards that you want them to have. For example, restricting what Trust assets can be distributed for i.e. what you believe to be foolish spending, can also be included.

Trust assets do not have to be distributed all at once at a specific age of majority. You could make arrangements for distributions in stages, for example, by restricting distributions to care and education up to age 25, then distribute a proportion of the assets at age 25 with instructions on how they are to be handled and further proportional distributions at other stages, say 30% at age 30 or 35.

If you want to encourage your children to focus upon higher education as a goal, distributions can be included in the Letter of Wishes that each child will receive a cash payment upon earning various educational degrees, such as $25,000 for a Bachelors degree, $50,000 for a Masters degree, etc.

If you want to encourage hard work and entrepreneurial skills, you could include an annual distribution from the Trust equal to or double that of his or her earned income for the previous year in accordance with their tax receipts.

If encouraging philanthropy and generosity to others is important to you, each child could receive an annual distribution equal to or double the charitable contributions reported on their tax returns for the previous year.

You should also bear in mind that you don't necessarily need to bequeath 100% of your assets to your family. You might instead choose to leave a portion to your heirs and additional funds to a charity, educational institution, hospital or other worthy cause. This is entirely up to the individual and their circumstances.

These provisions, such as those suggested above and others that relate to your specific circumstances, can be put into the Letter of Wishes. The Letter of Wishes is only limited by the imagination of the individual and how he wants his legacy to be used.

It is just as crucial to determine what to do with your wealth as it was deciding how to save, accumulate and invest it. You can leave a real, lasting and useful legacy to your heirs. The choice is yours. Even if you are no longer physically here, you can still help shape your children into self sufficient and independent individuals who can find their own successful path in life.

If you would like more information on how to structure a Legacy Trust, call our Wealth Management Director at +65-6-491-5329 (No cost or commitment).

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Learn more about Offshore Trust Structures and Foreign Asset Protection.


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