To many Singaporeans in their 20s and 30s, will writing is something that’s deemed unnecessary. According to experts, though, it’s never too early to make a will, and this is something that everyone should do in order to ensure that your assets are distributed fairly in the (touch wood!) event that you pass on. In this article, we explore why you should make a will, and how you can do so without a lawyer!
Why should I make a will?
For various reasons!
Firstly, it’s important to have a will to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Under the Intestate Succession Act, most deceased individuals (whom don’t have wills!) will have 50% of their assets going to their spouse, and 50% going to their child. Their surviving parents, if any, will not receive a single cent. If you’d like to avoid this situation and leave your parents well-covered in the event that you pass away unexpectedly, don’t put off will writing any longer!
In addition to this, there have been several cases of families in Singapore going to court over inheritances (with these inheritances being distributed according to the Intestate Succession Act.) These situations can easily turn ugly, but it’s easy to steer clear of them – simply write a will with specific instructions, so that there won’t be any confusion or potential misunderstandings arising from these inheritances.
Isn’t will writing only for rich people?
Most Singaporeans have a net worth of over $100,000 if you take into consideration your home, bank accounts, and insurance policies. This isn’t a small sum, so it’s worth apportioning out carefully!
How about individuals who have a net worth which is lower than $100,000? Will writer Patrick Chang makes a good point when he says that low or middle-income families are more likely to depend on the money left to them by a deceased family member. Bearing this in mind, even individuals who have fewer assets should go ahead and make a will.
What can or can’t I do with my will?
You can appoint your executor in your will, and also state your preferred funeral arrangements.
Do note, however, that not all your assets can be distributed. For example, you may not include money from your Central Provident Fund (CPF) account in a will; the same goes for property held in joint tenancy, cash in joint savings accounts, and insurance monies with a nominated beneficiary.
How do I write a will without a lawyer? What should my will consist of?
Include a list of your assets, liabilities, and your beneficiaries and guardians in your will. You’ll need to sign the will at the foot of the will, and have this signing witnessed by two or more witnesses. Do note that these witnesses cannot be spouses, or beneficiaries of the will; they’ll also have to sign the will in your presence.
Once that’s done, go ahead and register your will with the Insolvency and Public Trustee’s Office (IPTO). The IPTO will charge a nominal fee of $50 for the service; you may access more details here.
If you found this article interesting, you may wish to read more about what happens to an HDB flat in the event of a divorce and separation.