Estate planning — process of protecting, managing, and distributing a person’s wealth in the context of inheritance and succession — typically, it involves meticulous planning and tax-efficient structuring of assets, maximising the inheritance value and safeguarding the financial interests of beneficiaries/heirs. For expats, in addition to inheritance tax and other routine formalities, estate planning entails cross-border considerations. For instance, a Dubai resident with assets in the UAE and the country of permanent residency could face added complexities in estate planning. In such a scenario, expats must consider their retirement plans, the comparative analyses of applicable taxes, the preferences of the beneficiaries, and other sociopolitical and economic aspects. If the estate largely comprises bank accounts and intangible assets like equities, then distribution becomes relatively easy compared to a portfolio with immovable assets like real estate. Fortunately, the growing connectivity in the globalised world is simplifying estate planning. Today, GCC residents, particularly high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) and family offices, irrespective of nationalities, are diversifying their portfolios by gaining strategic exposure to different financial markets and asset classes. In addition to tax-efficient and seamless transfer of wealth, such cross-border strategies are helping maximise returns and stay in sync with the ever-evolving financial industry. Increased digitalisation, the emergence of alternative asset classes, and the rising awareness of estate planning across income groups have led financial advisers to believe it is an opportune time to get the conversation going. The rationale is that the best time to invest was 10 years ago; the next best time is now. Anselm Mendes, executive director of sales and technology at The Continental Group — a leading insurance intermediary and financial services solutions provider in GCC — brings more clarity. The Continental Group is a leading insurance intermediary and financial services solutions provider in the GCC region. Licensed by the Insurance Authority, the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) of the UAE, and DFSA (CFS DIFC Limited from The Continental Group is regulated by the DFSA), the group represents reputed multinational and local insurance and financial institutions.

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