Having family spread all over the world makes life interesting and challenging in many ways. My wife and I are currently in London as we have children in the UK and I have some clients to visit. Landing at Heathrow I get the normal enquiry on the reason for my visit. The answer is the same every year, family, football and business. I immediately get asked which football side I support and on saying the word “Spurs” I get a wry grin, a sarcastic comment and then a look of pity and waved through.

I know that many St Francis Bay residents have family and friends in the UK who they try to visit regularly, and the biggest shock is always how expensive things are compared to home. A modest 6-person pub lunch cost around 200 Pounds which converts to R4,500. EINA! We are coming home sober and thin!

The tourist challenges of visiting family abroad are real however when it comes to our financial planning there are many things that we need to be aware of if we have beneficiaries living in another country.

The first thing we need to do is make sure that we have a will that deals with all our worldwide assets. In some cases, having a will in a foreign jurisdiction may also be wise or necessary if we have assets outside of SA and failure to do so can lead to significant additional expenses on our passing. Is our will updated and where do our beneficiaries are resident is important to consider as this may influence how long it will take to wind up our estate, and how the process will unfold.

Do our children living abroad have updated wills which consider the succession laws of that country? In South Africa, we have the Intestate Succession Act, 1987 (Act 81 of 1987). In other countries such as Japan, the descendants of the deceased are allowed to discuss the division of inheritance among themselves in order to reach an agreement as to the dissolution of the estate and such agreement will be enforced unless there is a dispute.

Countries which impose Sharia Law require that male descendants receive twice the share of any female descendant, and allow male beneficiaries to override certain claims, rights or even the use of assets after the testator’s death. In Turkey the rights of succession differ from South Africa in that children have first claims to inheritance followed by parents and spouses deemed on the third tier in the rights of succession.

 having a global family

Are your assets in trust? There are so many considerations that one may not be aware of, and which may prevent your assets from being dealt with as per your wishes on death. Getting advice around these issues is vital.

having a global family

The speaker at our Rocking Retirement breakfast at the St Francis Brewery on the 7th June, is Mandy Dix-Peek, Head of Fiduciary at Old Mutual Wealth, and she will be discussing these issues in her talk “The Emergence of the Global Citizen” Be sure to book your spot and prepare any questions you may have.




Dirk Groeneveld, Certified Financial Plannert. 

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