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Maximising Your Legacy: A Guide to Estate Planning for French Expats in Singapore

Plan and make the most of your estate as a French expat. Learn about the tax implications when planning your estate in Singapore.

Living in a new country can be intimidating, but it’s also exciting! As a French expat who finds themselves in love with Singapore, one of the essential things you need to get done is estate planning. To keep your legacy roaring in the Lion City, it’s important to get your finances in order.  Having a well-strategised plan on your estate will prepare you to make the most out of the opportunities that Singapore has to offer.

In this guide, we will cover all you need to know about estate planning, the tax implications and responsibilities, creating a will, protecting your assets, and minimising tax liability.   


Why Do I Have to Plan My Estate?  

The idea of planning for the future can be overwhelming, but trust us, it's worth it. Estate planning is all about taking control of your assets, protecting your loved ones, and making sure that your hard-earned wealth is passed down according to your wishes. It is an important aspect of financial planning, especially for the French community living in Singapore as they must navigate the country’s unique tax laws and regulations.   

Estate planning can offer numerous benefits - from protecting your assets to taking care of your loved ones in the event of an emergency. Here are just a few reasons why you should consider estate planning: 

  • Easier probate - Probate is a legal process that can be time-consuming and expensive. Estate planning can help you avoid a tedious probate process by specifying how you want your assets to be distributed after your death.  
  • Minimising taxes - Estate planning can help you minimise taxes on your assets by taking advantage of tax-saving strategies (we can create a blog centered around this and link it here) 
  • Maintaining privacy - Estate planning allows you to keep your affairs private and away from public scrutiny. 
  • Peace of mind - Estate planning gives you peace of mind, knowing that your loved ones will be taken care of, and your assets will be protected. It also provides a sense of control and stability in an uncertain world.  
  • Flexibility - Estate planning allows you to make changes to your plan as your needs and circumstances change over time.  
  • Professional advice – When you plan your estate with a financial adviser, you can ensure that you have access to the latest information and expert advice to help you make informed decisions. This can help you avoid mistakes and ensure that your estate plan is tailored to your specific needs and goals.  


Tax Implications and Responsibilities    

Inheritance tax  

In France, there is an inheritance tax that is levied on the assets of the deceased. Even though Singapore doesn’t apply any inheritance tax on French expats, it still needs to be considered as it may impact the overall amount of assets that can be passed on to loved ones.  


Gift tax   

Gift tax is imposed on gifts given during an individual’s lifetime in France. This comes with certain exemptions depending on unique circumstances between the giver and the recipient. In Singapore, there is no gift tax for gifts given between individuals. However, gifts given to charity organisations are subject to tax.  


Income tax    

French expats in Singapore are subject to Singapore's income tax laws. They may also be subject to French income tax on their worldwide income, but Singapore has a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) with France that may reduce the amount of tax owed in France.  


Capital gains tax   

Another tax implication French expats need to consider in Singapore is the capital gains tax laws. They may also be subject to French capital gains tax on their worldwide gains, but due to Singapore’s DTA with France, you can be protected from double taxation.   

It's important to note that tax laws can be complex and are subject to change. French expats are encouraged to consult a tax professional for the latest information and to ensure that they are in compliance with all applicable tax laws in Singapore.   


Creating a Will  

After considering all the tax implications, the next vital step to take is creating a will. A will ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and provides peace of mind for you and your loved ones. In Singapore, anyone over the age of 21 can create a will.  

If you want to learn more about the importance of having a will, and how to create one, then head over to my blog on LinkedIn - here I explore the fundamentals of estate planning, the legalities involved in making a will and how it impacts your family. 


Asset Protection and Minimising Taxes  

Protecting your assets is another important aspect of estate planning. In Singapore, you can protect your assets by setting up trusts, owning life insurance policies, and engaging in tax planning.  

Trusts are a useful tool for asset protection as they allow you to transfer your assets to a trust for the benefit of your beneficiaries. The assets in the trust are protected from creditors and are not subject to estate taxes. 

Life insurance can also provide financial protection for your beneficiaries in the event of your death. The death benefit from a life insurance policy can be used to pay off debts or provide income for your beneficiaries.  

Tax planning is also essential for asset protection. By engaging in tax planning, you can minimise your tax liabilities and ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.   


Final Word   

Estate planning can help you maximise your legacy. Remember when there’s a will, there’s a way for a more stable future, not only for you but for your loved ones, too. If you want more assistance in planning your estate, you have financial advisers in Eight Wealth International that can help you navigate the complex tax laws and regulations and provide advice on the best strategies for a financial future.  

The levels and bases of taxation and reliefs from taxation can change at any time. The value of any tax relief depends on individual circumstances. You are advised to seek independent tax advice from suitably qualified professionals before making any decision as to the tax implications of any investment.

Advice relating to a will and/or trust involve(s)

the referral to a service that is separate and distinct to those offered by St. James’s Place.


SOURCE : Eight Wealth International


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