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Here's An Online Will You Can Use to Write Wills For International Assets

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

In an increasingly interconnected world, estate planning for global assets can pose significant challenges, especially when it comes to navigating legal complexities across international borders. In this article, we discussed with Sarah Ip, co-founder of NobleWills, an online will-writing platform, on the common problems that people neglect when estate planning for their global assets and how NobleWills tackles these challenges by combining the benefits of technological convenience with the personalized approach of will-writers.


 

Name: Sarah Ip

Company: Noble Wills Limited

Specialization: International Wills – Cross border estate planning

Base Location: Hong Kong, with operations in Singapore & United States

Service Style: Modern, Patient, and Personal

Anything Interesting: History lover

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Q: Can you tell me about yourself and how NobleWills came about?

Ip: I was born in the U.K. and was raised in both HK and the U.K. I am a lawyer by training and was in the legal industry for over 10 years, before starting my own will-writing business.


Will-Writing vs Law Firms

The will-writing industry is very different from law firms. Most law firms can only write wills for your local assets, but for will-writing companies, many have cross-border support to take care of the clients’ assets globally. This involves understanding the requirements for a will to be valid in different jurisdictions.


As comprehensive as will-writing companies can be, there are many issues as well. People are increasingly doing things online. My co-founder, a programmer by trade, and I saw an opportunity to bring the benefits of what will-writing companies offer - the personalized, human touch, with the convenience of what technology can offer. We started NobleWills two years ago to disrupt the industry and to bridge the gap so that people can get the benefits of both using an online service and writing a will using a will-writing company.


The online will industry in the U.S., U.K. and Australia are much more developed and saturated compared to those in Asia. With Asia’s growing economy and increasing demand for online services, we believe that there will be great growth potential for online wills in Asia.





Q: What are the issues that NobleWills is trying to solve?

Ip: There are 2 important issues. One, many online will services are overly simple. You just fill in a form, make payment, then you get your product. There is no real person or a will specialist to review your will and answer any of your concerns. People don’t understand or even know what the repercussions of their decisions are.


Additionally, there is no upscale online will service that deals with international assets.





Q: How is NobleWills different from other online will platforms?

Ip: First, online wills are not common in Hong Kong. There are a few competitors out there, but their services are not very comprehensive. We offer not only online wills, but also other estate planning documents, such as Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) and living will.


[EPA is a legal document in Hong Kong that is similar to Singapore’s Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). Both documents allow you to appoint someone to make decisions for you when you cannot make decisions for yourself.

A living will, which is commonly known as Advance Directive in Hong Kong, has some similarities with Advance Care Plan in Singapore. Living will allows you to express your preferences and instructions regarding medical treatments and care if you become mentally incapacitated and can’t make decisions for yourself.]



Beyond Just Online Services

Second, even though our service is online, we still offer a personal touch to it.


Our platform helps you get started on your will by asking a few basic questions.


If you have overseas assets but your distribution is simple, you can straight up fill in your details for your will. You can also upgrade to our “Advanced Online Will” and have a will specialist review your will to help you identify any issues. If any issues or conflicts are found, we will mention this in our 30-minute consultation to clear up any concerns.


If you have a complex situation or complicated assets, an “Advanced Online Will” won’t be enough. In this case, you can opt for our premium service and have a will specialist write a comprehensive will that caters to your specific needs.


Third, we cover overseas assets which most online wills don’t. We study the different laws in different jurisdictions and stay up to date with all the law changes to make sure that our wills comply with the laws of these jurisdictions. Our wills are created based on precedence, official legal documentation from those countries, and my 10 years of experience in the legal industry.


Lastly, we also offer professional printing where we use a special kind of paper with golden binding products to commemorate this important and significant document. It may be a small touch, but it shows the thoughts that go into our work.



 

Want to conveniently complete your will online? Try NobleWills now.

 


Q: What is your typical client?

Ip: Many of our clients are in their 30s and married with children. They want to use a will to protect their kids.


We have many U.K. clients, because structuring their wealth can help them reduce a lot of inheritance tax. We also have clients from Australia, U.S., and countries such as Thailand.



Q: What are the key problems that people face when it comes to international assets?

Ip: One of the key problems when it comes to planning for international assets is the need to consider rules in different countries. To resolve that, people will usually go to different lawyers in different countries to create different wills that are specific to the jurisdictions that the assets are in. This could create serious complications, such as not taking inheritance tax into account which may mean losing the opportunity to optimize and save on taxes.


For example, in some countries such as the UK, inheritance law may extend to someone’s global assets. The global assets may then be subjected to UK taxes.


One of the most catastrophic outcomes that could happen when the wills were not written in consideration of each other is that the wills could end up revoking one another.



Q: What is the benefit of going to NobleWills rather than engaging a lawyer?

Ip: Convenience and cost.


A lot of our clients have multiple assets in different countries and wish to get things done in one place. At NobleWills, you can get everything done online and covered in one place rather than having to physically visit different law firms.


Moreover, we allow unlimited updates to your will under our “Editing Membership” for a small fee. The cost is significantly lower than getting your will amended at a law firm and even some will-writing firms.



Q: Can you tell me about your interests and hobbies?

Ip: I love reading, travelling, technology, and learning about history from different countries. Before I travel to a new country, I always like to read up on its history first.



This interview has been edited for length.





Enjoy up to 10% discount off your Will when you use Immortalize's coupon codes.

Find out more here!




 

FAQs

Are online wills legal?

The legality of online wills can vary depending on the jurisdiction. In many countries, including Singapore, the United States, and United Kingdom, online wills can be considered legally valid if they meet certain requirements.


Should you use an online will?

Whether to use an online will or not depends on your specific circumstances and preferences. Here are a few factors to consider when making your decision: complexity of your estate, legal requirements, confidence in your ability to navigate the process, need for legal advice, and cost considerations. It's essential to make an informed decision based on your unique circumstances. Want to inquire more about online wills? Speak to Immortalize here now.


 

Immortalize is an Elderhood marketplace and information provider. We make planning and executing your plans for ageing, retirement, legacy and everything elderhood-related simple, easy and comprehensive!


Immortalize Who's Who series seeks to profile service providers in the legacy planning space to help you better identify and relate to the best, the most outstanding and the legitimate providers.




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Disclaimer: Nothing in this article or site should be construed as providing legal advice or advice of any sort. The information provided are general in nature and may become inaccurate over time. Please consult a professional for advice.


For any issues or queries, please contact j@immortalize.io

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