HOW WILL MY HEIRS OR THE PERSONS I WANT TO INHERIT THE FUNDS BE ABLE TO GET MY MONEY
There are many possibilities. First, instructions about the existence and testamentary disposition of the account after your death can be given in a sealed envelope to a trusted third party. This person should probably live outside the jurisdiction of your home country. You can tell your kid or wife that she should see this person for a sealed envelope in the event of your death. The trusted third party should have some incentive to see that your heirs get the envelope – like being told that US $2000 will be delivered to him by the heir upon your death if he delivers. The envelope can contain a list of your assets, a will (properly witnessed) an assignment or death instructions. Banks in many countries accept death instructions, powers of attorney or assignment orders upon them signed before the death of the owner and do not require probates.
This is true in Switzerland or Liechtenstein for instance – not however in most British Colonies or ex-colonies, where Common Law is in effect.
There you need a will, probate and all that expensive bother. The Common Law idea is that it is too easy to forge the signature of a dead person and there should be a great deal of formality required to pass assets upon death. But as these “Estate” court proceedings have turned into a way to give lawyers, administrators, executors and appraisers and a grand assortment of politically appointed parasites a big chunk of your estate, people now go to great lengths to avoid probate. For advice on this subject there is a very good paperback book called (US and UK versions) How to Avoid Probate by Norbert Dacey. But getting back to offshore banks, your bank will also be glad to have one of their own legal staff go over with you the various options you may have available to you with the costs, advantages, and disadvantages. One of my favorites is to simply have my heir sign all the papers to give him a joint account or signing power during my lifetime as well as after my death, but not to reveal the location of the account, except in the sealed letter to be opened upon my death. It is important to remember that some arrangements have to be made because if you do nothing, the fine print in your account opening papers usually provides that after some long period of inactivity in your account (like 20 years) the account becomes the sole property of the bank. Obviously, with this incentive, the bank is going to make absolutely no effort to find your heirs! In some countries, after periods of inactivity the state takes the money and the account earns no further interest for the holder, who must usually pay a 50 per cent fee to “heir-tracers” to get his own money back. In most of the states of the US this period is only five to seven years! Moral? Make arrangements before you die unless you want the enemy to get your money.