Using regular savings to secure your legacy

For any expat in Portugal who has the means to think beyond day-to-day living costs, intelligent use of regular savings means the future can be a little more certain. With a regular savings plan in place, many issues can be taken care of, from education fee planning to the more ambitious step of planning a legacy. And not forgetting living life to the max!

Inevitably, however, such planning will involve a significant amount of research, reflection and, crucially, strategy. For example, retirees need to be aware of Portuguese inheritance laws and tax liability considerations, and then follow this up with a considered approach to wealth management which will actively help them best achieve their goals.

It is sometimes too easy to think that just because you have “sewn up” your financial affairs back in the United Kingdom and have made financial planning provisions for your life in Portugal that you have done all you need to for your retirement. But for those who are really committed to making the most of their hard-earned wealth, education, legacy and estate planning are all going to become areas of real focus.

For instance, you’ll need to answer questions including: have you made plans beyond your immediate needs? Have you thought about how you might be able to make a difference to the lives of those you most love? Are you able to maximise your impact on the lives of others through education fee planning, legacy planning and other kinds of foresighted provision?

There is more to satisfactorily answering these questions than simply writing a Will, particularly as you are likely to have family and financial interests both in the UK and your new country of residence. Inevitably, this cross-jurisdictional existence can complicate matters, making clear advice and clear strategy of paramount importance.

Consider, for example, Portugal’s ‘forced heirship’ succession law. This means that since August 2015, under the ‘Brussels IV’ regulation, EU non-habitual residents (NHRs) in Portugal have been obliged to pass their estates on to heirs in line with Portuguese succession laws. This means that your wife, husband and children could stand to automatically inherit at least half of all your assets, regardless of where they are in the world and regardless of whether you want your estate to be divided in this way.

It could be easy and catastrophic to overlook this. Fortunately, it is possible to circumvent this law by using your Will to express your preference for UK law when it comes to dividing your assets. However, ensuring this occurs is not uncomplicated and can occasionally result in mind-boggling and unwelcome tax intricacies. Speaking with an experienced expat wealth manager about how to invest and plan your regular savings can help mitigate against this possibility.

Often it is the steps you take in the here and now that help prevent confusion or misfortune in the future. For example, education fee planning can utilise regular savings in a tax efficient way to ensure that future generations of your family have the best chance of a successful and happy life.

Another option is to employ regular savings to establish trust structures of securely ring-fenced money. This can ensure that, even after you have gone, money is used in the way you desire, effectively ensuring that you continue to exert some level of control, even after you have passed on.

Whatever the case, the best way to define success with regular savings is to ask yourself whether your plans allow you to use your money in the way you want, at the time you want, without creating any avoidable confusion or tax liability. It is the job of a good wealth manager to ensure that the arrangements you use to achieve this are fully compliant with Portuguese law.

Blacktower in Portugal
The Blacktower Group was formed in 1986 and provides wealth management advice to clients in the UK and abroad. With an office in the Algarve and Cascais and representatives serving expats all over Portugal, Blacktower can help you today by calling 289 355 685, email [email protected] or visit

By Manuela Robinson

Manuela Robinson is Joint Country Manager for Blacktower Financial Management (International) Ltd, with offices in Quinta do Lago and Cascais.
[email protected]
289 355685 |
Blacktower Financial Management (International) Limited is licensed in Gibraltar by the Financial Services Commission Licence 00805B. Blacktower Financial Management Limited is regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority.