Expat Expert: international protection plans

Q.I am moving abroad with my family. How can I make sure I am fully protected?
A.When you are working abroad, it’s worth checking that your existing critical illness cover still meets your family’s needs. You should check your existing insurance arrangements to ensure you are covered in the new country of residence and you need to make sure your cover won’t be affected if you move again. It may be expensive to keep changing your policy and you can end up with bits of lots of different plans around the world.

Q.What advantages does a portable protection plan hold?
A.A portable protection plan provides you with life insurance (with optional critical illness) protection, which moves with you to most countries around the world. Under the plan, life cover can be purchased and paid for in a number of different currencies and a variety of terms are available, from five to 35 years or for the rest of your life. Because the policy is based offshore there is no need to transfer the policy and there are no additional costs when you move. Policy holders can agree to amend their premiums as and when they wish.

Q.Can I guarantee my will’s wishes will be followed if I die while living abroad?
A.Expats are likely to have assets located in multiple countries. While writing a will can assist in ensuring that your assets are passed to those you choose to benefit in the event of your death, the international aspect might not guarantee that your wishes will be achieved. Even if you are able to cover your worldwide assets under one or more wills made in different jurisdictions, domestic laws can hinder the transfer of these assets into the names of your intended heirs. The processes set in place can be costly and time consuming, leading to delays and causing unnecessary anxiety and distress for those you leave behind.

Q.If I have assets in a number of different countries, how can I simplify them so that they are easily disposed of when I die?
A.As an expat, you may have property overseas. Add to this pension schemes and your investment portfolio and you start to draw a fairly complex picture. It may be possible to simplify your financial affairs by placing your investments and property into a trust. In many jurisdictions a person who creates a trust can also be included as a beneficiary or, alternatively, take some form of fixed interest. The type of trust best suited for you will depend on your specific circumstances and objectives, such as passing down wealth to subsequent generations or alternatively reducing the impact of inheritance tax.

For more details about HSBC Bank International’s offshore banking solutions visit www.offshore.hsbc.com or call +44 1534 616079