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RELOCATION: New Life, New Choices and a New Will

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Sarah Ip, Co-Founder of NobleWills, outlines what you need to knowabout estate planning when you move out of Hong Kong

Hong Kong has recently been ranked the 77th most liveable city in the world, down 19 places since last year. With the protests, the pandemic and the restrictive government rules, a lot of people, including expats, are considering moving out of Hong Kong either permanently or temporarily.

Estate planning may not be uppermost in your mind when you are looking to relocate, but it’s something you really need to prioritise. By reading this article, you will have a basic idea of what you need to have in place.

If you don’t already have a Will, now is the time to have one made. You should have a Will to cover assets that you are leaving behind in Hong Kong,
such as your business, investments and insurance policies. With a Will in place, you will know that your assets are taken care of and that your legacy can continue on to the next generation should something happen to you.

If you are moving your assets out of Hong Kong, there are two key considerations that you need to focus on – inheritance tax and new investments.

Have you thought about inheritance tax? Living in Hong Kong offers many benefits, and this includes paying relatively low taxes compared to many other countries. Importantly, Hong Kong has no inheritance/estate tax, but once you move overseas to certain jurisdictions then your assets may be subject to inheritance tax. Having a good estate plan in place can help you reduce the amount of tax that needs to be paid.

Have you factored new investments into your estate plan? Moving away from Hong Kong may result in adjustments and changes to your investments, for instance buying new property, transferring insurance policies, setting up trusts. To ensure that these changes are covered, you should revisit your estate plan to check that your Will is up to date.

What else do you need to consider when making a Will? There are many facets to a Will, and the basics usually include choosing someone to manage your estate, choosing guardians for your children and pets, and giving away assets that you have accumulated throughout your lifetime. If you move overseas, your assets will adjust and change to fit your new lifestyle.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to update your affairs and make sure everything is taken care of before you leave. For many of us, appointing guardians, who will take care of our children in the event of our death, is the most important aspect of a Will. If you are moving overseas and you already have a Will in place, you need to check that the appointed guardians will be applicable in your new home. For instance, if the people you have appointed as temporary guardians are Hong Kong-based friends and neighbours, they will need to be replaced. You may also need to update your Letter of Wishes to ensure that your guidance to guardians and executors remains relevant.

Ultimately, there are many things to take into account when you move to a new location, and you will need to make many new choices. Before you leave, you should put your affairs in order to make sure that your family and the assets you have accumulated throughout the years are well protected.

NobleWills is a trusted Will writing company for those looking for a one-stop estate planning service at a reasonable price. Our Will writing service is available both online and through personal consultation, and we specialise in cross-border estate planning solutions.

For more information, visit www.noblewills.com.

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