Holding of a Foreign Bank Account and Succession Issues

High net worth individuals hold bank accounts in different jurisdictions like Singapore, England, Dubai and Switzerland.  These accounts are an asset of the account holder and will form a part of the individual’s estate on death. Consequently, the legal issues which might arise on the death of the account holder need to be carefully considered.

Key issues to note:

  1. The first point to consider is the booking office of the account. An account holder may have a relationship with his bankers in Dubai. However, if the account is ‘booked’ (held and operated) in Singapore (the booking office), for example, then the laws of Singapore will prime facie be relevant to the account. Although it may be possible to use a will prepared in accordance with the laws of the account holder’s domicile (usually the account holder’s home jurisdiction) in respect to the Singapore account, the account holder may wish to have a Singapore will limited only to his Singapore account. In this case, the form of the Singapore will must accord with the requirements of Singapore law.

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