Estate Planning in Asia

Estate Planning, also called Succession Planning, is as important in Asia as anywhere else. The rules in many Asian jurisdictions may be more complex than you expect, and it is vital that you understand how they will affect you and your assets in the event of death or disability.

Many entrepreneurs don't give priority to the structuring of the personal ownership of their business, preferring to concentrate on growing the business itself. This may lead to some very inconvenient and unexpected results such as frozen business assets, the inability to manage the business, and high death duties, as well as the impossibility to transfer the ownership to the next generation in the manner wished.

The nature of the assets (movable or immovable property), their location and applicable law, your marriage regime, and your estate wishes all need to be taken into account, based on international private law considerations.

Rosemont can assist clients to understand the estate planning issues surrounding their assets and the implications for its transmission. We can help by determining the law applicable to an estate, depending on nationality and residence issues and on the location of assets, and explaining the related wealth transfer, and succession rules, comparing civil law vs common law rules, or Sharia Law rules and managing the local forced heirship rules to increase the likelihood that your assets are distributed the way you want in the case of death or incapacity.

You might also need to think about what arrangements are made for the guardianship and maintenance of minor children in the event of your death or disability.

A well implemented estate plan will help reduce estate/inheritance taxes, and reduce the complications and costs of probate. It will ensure the provision of liquidity needed for estate settlement expenses at a minimum cost. Wills, trust and foundations, and life insurance are all part of the estate planning "toolkit".

In 2015 new EU succession rules (Regulation (EU) No 650/2012 or the “Regulation”) entered into force, which scope affects every person (EU national or otherwise) owning assets in a European country.
From now on, international successions subject to these rules can be governed either by (i) the law of the last habitual residence of the deceased, or (ii) the national law of the deceased, if the latter unequivocally expressed such choice before his death.
The Regulation simplifies the current situation: a given succession can now be treated coherently, by one single court applying one single law. Citizens owning European assets should be aware of this reform and its practical implications, so that they can organise their international succession. 

January 2016
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