As part of our inaugural issue of Precepts Legacy’s “The Custodian”, we interviewed Mr. Tay Teng Pong (TP), our most senior and experienced Estate and Succession Practitioner (ESP) about his journey with us over the years.
(Precepts Legacy (PL) is the Estate Planning division of PreceptsGroup International)
PL: Why do you choose “It’s Family” as the theme for this interview?
TP: PreceptsGroup, known as Rockwills till recently, has provided me the platform to build my own family business. It’s a franchise that I can pass on to my family. This platform also allows me to build our family of team members, often referred to as our downlines, who can likewise build their own businesses. May God help me set a good example for them.
PreceptsGroup’s management and staff is akin to our extended family which provides us the necessary and essential support for our growth and success. It’s family within families!
PL: Can you share with us your journey in Estate Planning?
TP: I have been in the Will writing business since 2002 and incorporated Will And Legacy Pte Ltd in 2007. There was a season when I was handling the marketing, sales and
drafting of Wills all by myself. I was very honored when Rockwills invited Will And Legacy to be its first franchisee. Franchisees were subsequently known as Rockwills Estate Planners (REPs). With the arrangement, I was able to spend more time meeting and advising clients on their estate planning needs after I handed the drafting of Wills in the good hands of Rockwills. I have no doubt this partnership would continue even as Rockwills in Singapore changes its name to PreceptsGroup. The former term REP will be changed to Estate and Succession Practitioner (ESP).
PL: Tell us more about your current business?
TP: Will And Legacy is a family business with my wife Jenny, who has joined me since her retirement, and my younger son, Johann, who has been in the business with me for 8
years. This business taps into our individual strengths and has been very fulfilling both financially and for our purpose in life.
With Will Writing and Trust setup as our primary focus and key competency, we have topped Rockwills’ production
rankings for the last 11 years. Johann has established himself very well and I can see that
he is enjoying his work. Will And Legacy is a legacy I leave for my family.
As at end 2019, Will And Legacy has written over 2,700 Wills.
PL: Can you share how you work with financial planners? How do you help them with their business?
TP: Whenever opportunities arise, I would remind financial planners that wealth distribution is as important an element as the other three elements of wealth planning, namely, wealth protection, wealth accumulation and wealth management. For a long time, wealth distribution or estate planning has been neglected by financial planners and the public alike.
Will And Legacy’s business model has two prongs, namely:
I. Financial planners and our clients would constantly
support us with referrals.
II. Those who are keen to do exactly what we are doing
would join our Will And Legacy team as ESPs.
Over the years, we are grateful and thankful to have many established and new financial planners referring their clients to us for estate planning.
Using the platform that PreceptsGroup provides, we educate both financial planners as well as end clients on the essentials of estate planning.
Financial planners find that by conscientiously talking about estate planning, they develop a deeper relationship with their clients. This results in them gaining more referrals and thereby increased their financial planning business.
Majority of our ESPs are financial planners who wish to provide estate planning directly to their own clientele. We have seen some financial planners, who were jaded with their business
after years and decades, but becoming rejuvenated after they develop estate planning as one of their core expertise to serve their clients.
PL: What is your team’s growth like?
TP: Currently, our Will And Legacy family has 99 members and
still growing. PreceptsGroup provides the foundational training, while Will And Legacy kicks it up a few notches,
grooming and equipping our team members to provide comprehensive, concise estate planning consulting for our
myriad of clients.
Within Will And Legacy, we have also created clear and effective channels of communication and peer learning. To
quote Joseph Tan, one of our own team members: “We all learn from each other! It’s an awesome family here”.
Another precious young member, Klaudia Yeo, would often tease and call me “grandfather” – as she comes under her
own mentor, who is our mentee, hence the senior – generational moniker. In fact, I have been informed that I
already have “great grandchildren” within my family of downlines!
PL: How you feel about our new branding, PreceptsGroup(Precepts Legacy)?
TP: With Mr. Lee Chiwi, whom I have worked together over the
last 12 years, at the helm and as long as all Will And Legacy’s family of team members, our extended family of more than 40 Precepts staff and the rest of the 600 ESPs remain positive, intact and continue to do their part, everything would be fine.
PL: Do you have any advice for our readers here?
TP: I won’t call it advice but some frequent observations that I would like to voice.
I need only a simple Will Directly or through their financial planners, many clients are quick to add that they need only a simple Will. Rest assured we would not write your Will more complex than it should be. Most clients who make such remark probably do not know the full potential of a Will and what it can do for them. After going through the usual 1.5 hr free consult with us, several clients would say they did not realise there is so much to consider when writing a Will. Some would joke and add that dying is not so easy after all.
My advice is never to choose or decide on a Will provider merely by comparing Will fees. It would likely be a grave
mistake. A few pennies you save today may cause your family several pounds and lots of trouble in future if your Will is not properly or carefully written.
It’s now or never
In other words, don’t wait! Don’t procrastinate!
In my 18 years of estate planning, I have come across too many people who need a Will desperately but have lost
their mental capacity to do so. A few met up with me but felt too sick to discuss their Will. They died soon after before they could feel better to talk. A few others managed to convey their intentions to me but when I dropped by their home or hospital to attest (sign) their Will, they had lost consciousness or mental capacity. It’s very unfortunate!
PL: What do you think Precepts business would mean for the next generation?
TP: I am past my retirement age. In 2 years, I would have
written Wills for 2 decades. Things have certainly changed over time and I am heartened to see that Precepts would
mean a new era for Johann and the next generation of ESPs.
It’s gratifying to see more ESPs considering pursuing this career full-time. I am glad one of our successful team
members, Joy Koh, an Accountant turned full time mum, can strike a good balance between this meaningful career
and nurturing her 3 young daughters.
Moving ahead, I see a brighter future and greater opportunities for this bigger family of ESPs.
PL: It has been quite a journey! Any final words?
TP: This interview is not complete if I do not give God all the credit and the Glory! God has joined the dots of my life and
I thank Him for allowing me to pursue my passion in estate planning this far, and for as long as He is willing.
I am grateful to be blessed with a sacrificial partner and helpmate in Jenny during our pilgrimage through this world. Our sons, Joel and Johann, are the pride of our lives and our
lovely grandchildren are our joy. We have 5 grandchildren now as we are recently blessed with a pair of twin girls from Johann.
In Psalm 23:6, the Bible says, “Surely your goodness and love will follow [chase after] me all the days of my life …”.
I believe Precepts is one of the many good things that are chasing after me. It would bless many who are associated
with it. That’s because we are family!