For the sake of your loved ones, do not procrastinate and have your Will done!

Mdm Tan (not her real name) was divorced from her husband a few years ago having custody of their only daughter. Her ex-husband had since remarried another lady who bore him a few children. Mdm Tan detested her ex-husband very much for being unfaithful to her. For several years now her ex-husband had not visited the daughter and cared about their livelihood. As a strong woman, Mdm Tan worked hard as an executive and together with her elderly parents took care of her only daughter. In my conversation with her, I realized that she had not drawn up a Will. A check with our legal counsel reveals following potential problems –

1. The implication of Intestate Succession Act (Cap. 146) in the event of a common disaster* happening to both her and her daughter, her Assets could possibly end up with her ex-husband. 

2. In the event if she were to pass away suddenly, her ex-husband could apply to Court to be the sole guardian of her daughter (even though Mdm Tan would very much want her sister to take care of her daughter if she is no longer around).

3. If Mdm Tan were to pass away Intestate, her assets will go to her daughter. As she is a Minor, the Public Trustee shall hold on to the money until her daughter reaches age 21. No money will be left to her elderly parents!

On another occasion, I came across a successful businessman Mr Lim (not his real name) married with 2 children. His parents had passed away many years ago. His wife, who is a few years younger than him, was close to her only mother who is dependent on her financially. Mr & Mrs Lim, together with their children travel oversea frequently. In my conversation with Mr Lim I sensed that he was not on good terms with her mother-in-law. I was further surprised that he had not done up a Will. In view of his business success, surely someone must have told him about the importance of writing a Will! When asked why he did not write a Will, his replied was that according to his knowledge if he were to pass away, his wife and children will inherit her Estate. Even though he loves his wife, he sounded a concern that he wanted his business to pass on to his children when they grow up. A check with our legal counsel reveals following potential problems –

1. The implication of Intestate Succession Act (Cap. 146) in the event of a common disaster* happening to him, wife and 2 children, his Assets (business and all) could end up with his mother-in-law.

2. His wife and children who are currently not running the business will have difficulties managing the business if he were to pass away. Besides, there is nothing to stop his wife from marrying another man who would then manage the business.

(Note* – Under the Civil Law Act (Cap. 43), in all cases where two or more persons die in circumstances rendering it uncertain which of them survived the other or others, such deaths shall (subject to any order of the Court) for all purposes affecting the title to property be presumed to have occurred in order of seniority and accordingly the younger shall be deemed to have survived the elder i.e. for simultaneous deaths, younger deemed to have survived the elder.)

Mdm Tan and Mr Lim were taken aback when I shared with them the potential problems and difficulties should they passed on without leaving a properly executed Will. Remember, for the sake of your loved ones, do not procrastinate and have a Will done! To review your Will or have a Will drawn up, you can contact us for a complimentary 1st consultation.

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