Like many, I have always thought of writing one for the family, however it had never materialised to date. I guess I am not the only one as there are many who had thought about it but NATO ( No Action Talk Only) at the end of the day. As morbid as this topic may get, the reality is that writing a will may be necessary to protect your love ones. We do all that we can as parents to protect and safeguard our children while we are alive. It will be an irony that we undo all that in death without a proper will. Imagine not leaving your assets to the one you meant to protect or to the one that most deserved it. All your well intention when you are alive will come to naught upon your demise.
It is not something I desire for my love ones. As such I had recently decided to make a will.
Here is a guide to the essential information to write a will
Benefits of writing a will
It is a common misconception that only the rich writes a will. It does not matter if you had $100,000 or 100 million, it is always good to state your intention after you demise.
- Writing a will can aid in distributing assets according to your wishes and prevent potential family disputes.
- It decides who you think is a suitable person(s) to administer your estate and authorise them as required. If there is no will the administrator will be appointed by the Court.
- For those with young children , you could appoint a guardian(s) through a will. You have to appoint at least 2 guardians/executors/ trustees who will be able to hold the assets or invest or use them for the benefits of the minors.
- Remove any complications in administration of assets and this reduce potential costs to do so.
- There are a few exceptions in making a will in Singapore. Not all assets can be included in the will.
- CPF - funds in CPF cannot be included in the will. The funds are either distribute to a nominee you had made or if you have not, it will be distribute in accordance with Interstate Succession act
- Property - Joint tenancy properties cannot be included. This will be pass to the surviving owner of the property upon demise.
- Insurance - insurance policies with a nominated beneficiary cannot be included in the will
- Joint accounts - proceeds from the joint account will be transferred to the surviving account holder.
- Cash in bank under personal name
- Personal possessions such as property, cars, watches and other items
- Wills can be review and change in according to circumstances. Do not attempt to make your own amendments on the will as it may make the will invalid of ineffective
- Key information in will
- Your full name and identification number
- Your address details
- The names of the executors who will administer your will upon death
- Details of beneficiaries
- Portion of distribution of your assets
- Details of assets you propose to distribute
- You may also want to consider making a list of liabilities. You should give instructions to pay them off in order for a proper distribution of assets
- Information on the will are to be deposited with the Will Registry for smooth probate. This service is free.
Anyone above 21 and of a sound mind can make a will. You an write your own wills, but it is advisable to consult a lawyer for making a will to ensure that it is done correctly and legally.
In the absence of wills, Intestacy rules regarding the distribution of assets are stated in the Interstate Succession Act ( Cap 146)
The alternative to making a will is to set up a trust. A trust is useful for those who intend to provided lifetime and after death property management. For example it may be suitable those with children who are minors or children with special needs, Gifts for multi-generations with or without conditions or even distribution of shares in a business. Generally it is more complicated compared to a will and requires immediate funding to set it up.
Who to look for
It is recommended that wills be drafted by lawyers to ensure that there are no mistakes in the will that may render it ineffective. Before engaging a lawyer, it would be useful for you to draft out your assets and wishes for them to write a proper will
Some firms also provide online services for you to state your assets and wishes. Thereafter the lawyers would prepare the will and you need to just visit the office to sign the documents.
Selected insurance companies provide assistance in drafting a will. Check out the information on their respective website for more information. NTUC IncomeGreat Eastern Life
Cost for wills range from $ 200 upwards, depending on the complexity of the will and whom you engage. It is best to get the cost from the firm you are engaging for this purpose.Finally do let your family members , especially those whom will benefit or serve as executors to the will, on the location of the original will. In that case, should anything happen, it will be accessible to prevent any delays.
So to my boys who are reading this. Your dad is in the process of getting the will done... So who's naughty or nice?