Peak Magazine – Howard Bilton
May 2015

It has been said that there are only two things in life that are certain: death and taxes (some say death and nurses). Recent years have seen a dramatic rise in the popularity and use of trusts in this region. Hong Kong has great expertise in trust matters thanks to the adoption of the English legal system, which understands and can enforce trusts. Hong Kong abolished estate duty some time ago, but those who have assets abroad will probably be subject to estate duties abroad. In most cases, estate duties are one of the easiest taxes to avoid or reduce, but only if plans are made early.

No responsible head of a family will leave his loved ones to sort out his/her estate with all the costs, delays and heartaches that this involves. Even a simple estate will take at least a year to administer A multijurisdictional estate will take considerably longer, and can easily cost up to six per cent of the asset value. During this delay, the assets are normally frozen.

Trusts provide an alternative solution with many potential advantages. A trust will avoid all the expenses and delays inherent in a will and can give asset protection, considerable tax advantage during your lifetime and avoidance of estate duty on death. More…

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