Article

Estate & Succession Practitioner (ESP) Sharing
with Mr Eugene Soo

This interview was taken as an excerpt from Custodian Issue 16, Jan, 2021.

For this issue, we catch up with Mr Eugene, one of PreceptsGroup’s most experienced ESP. Eugene Soo has been a top Trust Introducer for past 3 consecutive years and has advised more than 100 clients on how to set up their Trust for wealth succession.

He has published his own book, “Leaving a Legacy of Love”.

1. When did you become a Precepts Estate & Succession Practitioner?

Back in the year 2008.

2. What prompted you to consider a career and business as a Precepts Estate & Succession Planner? Why did you choose to work towards specialising in Estate Planning?

Back in the year 2008.

3. What have you done so far towards becoming a specialist in Estate Planning? What do you think is the difference that Precepts provide in your journey?

I am very honoured to have helped many families in establishing their estate matters. Over the years, the profile of my clients grew. Precepts has provided end-to-end support in terms of training and infrastructure from basic legacy planning to the more complex situations of certain individuals.

4. What are some of your core beliefs for Estate Planning?

Estate planning is never about ourselves. It is for the people whom we care about. In my 12 years of experience, I have never met anyone who does not have any people whom they care for.

5. What do you think consumers should look out for when they are doing their planning to distribute their Wealth?

Consumers should always think from the perspective of how recipients perceive their inheritance rather than how they wish to distribute theirs. For example, $100k to you may be tiny but makes a whole lot of difference if you make it as a gift to someone at age 18 years old. Always ask yourself this question: is your giving going to be a blessing or a curse to them?

6. Eugene, we understand you regularly helped individuals and families set up Trusts. What are some of the challenges they face that prompted them to do so?

Most people think that only the rich and wealthy are suitable to set up Trusts. In fact, the main requirement rather is how careful we want our assets to be split when we are gone, a situation more commonly seen amongst the lower tier of income group. The common challenge includes having no purpose for their wealth when they go. So sadly, these individuals are clueless how their wealth should be spent, or where it should go to.

7. What are some of the principles you use to help them overcome these challenges?

I will normally put them through a thinking process, get them to go through a legacy checklist that I have specially curated for individuals like them. At the end of the time with me, they will have a clearer direction of their purpose for themselves and their inheritance.

8. How long is the normal process to complete a family wealth succession?

A comprehensive process would involve settling one’s will (including digital assets), Trust (if necessary), insurance and CPF nominations, Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), Advance Medical Directive (MDA) and also other services like briefing the executors or guardians on their roles
and responsibilities. This typically takes one to two months.

9. What do you enjoy most with the business?

The part I enjoy most is how clients discover their purpose with their money and how they can use their wealth to the fullest advantage. Deepening relationships with my clients is also something I treasure the most.

10. Tell us more about any memorable parts of the business?

In my early days as an ESP, a client once gathered his entire family, sat them down in a Good Class Bungalow and discussed his intent of what happens after he is gone. He invited me for the meeting hopefully to explain the technical aspects to his 3 grown-up children and wife. To my surprise there was already tension amongst them. The session was intense with many heated discussions of how to handle the distributions. At the end of the 3 hour meeting, we were still at the first item. I finally left the meeting as I needed to rush back to pick my son!

11. What do your colleagues and/or family members think about you being an Estate Planner?

Well, estate planning is a very private matter. You may hear it commonly but people prefer it to be dealt under closed doors. I do get private messages very often of certain sticky situations and it’s interesting to know how ugly can things turn out when proper estate planning is not done.

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