Whenever Christmas arrives, I always look forward to songs like “You better watch out! Better not cry! Better not pout! I’m telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town.” The thought of Santa Claus to children means lots of presents are on its way and you have to be good to receive them. Such a festive season creates the atmosphere of celebration with joy and happiness within the family. An atmosphere like that does create the mood for shopping where most of us will be busy buying presents for our family to celebrate this joyous occasion. If you look around in the shopping malls, it is common to see parents trying out clothes on their children and at the same time taking the opportunity to shop for their children’s basic school needs before school reopens.
All these activities, bring to mind that we, as parents and breadwinners, are like Santa Claus for the family because we have been providing them with all their daily necessities all year round regardless of whether they are good or bad and wondering if they would be saying “Ho Ho Ho! Santa Claus is coming to town” everyday. I guess most of us take this for granted because everyday we expect the breadwinner to come home, and likewise, the breadwinner would always think that they would come home unscathed. Even though no one in their right mind would want to think of the worst, it is time to give a serious thought to the phrase “precaution is better than cure” because I have seen spouses and minor children looking lost when their breadwinner who is supposed to return home safely from the hospital dies from complications.
Taking precaution through planning for our family is not difficult if one is serious about it because it doesn’t take up much of our time. One can start off by thinking of immediate funding for the family upon the demise of the breadwinner and I am sure this is always in everyone’s mind when something happens to the breadwinner. Immediate funding can come from Insurance and EPF through nomination where beneficiaries can receive the monies quickly. But it is also advisable to set up an “Insurance Trust” to provide immediate funding by transferring the insurance policy to the Trust just in case your sole beneficiary, who happens to be your spouse, dies or is disabled or in coma. Such a Trust requires you, during your lifetime as the “Settlor” to appoint a Trustee Company like Rockwills Trustee Bhd. to pass the insurance money to your intended beneficiaries immediately upon your demise. Other assets, such as money in your bank accounts, investments, properties, shares in your business which will be frozen, can be protected and distributed through a will and with this instrument you can choose your Executors/Trustee, Guardian, beneficiaries and state the condition of your distribution especially when minor children are involved.
Before I sign off, I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Peter Lee is an Associate Estate Planning Practitioner (Wills & Trust) with Rockwills International Group. He is also an Islamic Estate Planner providing Wills & Trust services for Muslims. He is based in Ipoh and can be reached at: 012‑5078825/ 05‑2554853 or [email protected] Website: http://www.wills-trust.com.my.