Will Writing

Some Will, some won’t but what difference can your Will make?

Why people don’t write Will?

  1. Ignorance – Many people are ignorant about the purpose and importance of a Will.
  2. Misconception – Some think that Wills are for the wealthy. In reality, everyone needs a Will. As long as you have possessions or assets that you want to pass to your loved ones you will need a Will to do just that.
  3. Procrastination – Everyone should make a Will right now because no one knows what tomorrow hold. Protect yourself now as accident and untimely death is not an uncommon occurrence.
  4. Estate will pass automatically to parents, wife and children – Not necessary so as your assets will be distributed according to Intestate Succession Act if you don’t have a Will. If you have children, your parents will not get a cent! You have unknowingly disinherited your parents!

What is a Will?

A Will is a legal document completed in accordance with state law that is executed by an individual (called the “testator” or “Will maker”) declaring how his/her estate is to be managed and assets distributed on his/her death. The Will becomes legal binding only upon the death of the testator. The testator is free to make changes to the Will till the day of his/her death.

Why is writing a Will important?

When a person dies leaving a properly executed Will, he/she is said to have died “Testate”. If he/she died without a Will, he/she is said to have died “Intestate” and the state law shall dictate who will be entitled to the deceased’s assets and in what proportions – Intestate Succession Act (Cap.146) applies to non-Muslims while Administration of Muslim Law Act (Cap.3) applies to Muslims in Singapore.

The Intestate Succession Act applies to Intestate persons dying domiciled in Singapore. It only applies to non-domiciled Intestate persons in relation to their immovable property in Singapore. Partial Intestacy can occur when there is valid Will but it only disposes part of the testator’s estate. The Intestacy then applies to the property that has not been disposed of, subject to the provisions in the Will.

Assets distribution according to Intestate Succession Act (Cap.146)

Where deceased was married at time of death

Where deceased was single/widowed/divorced at time of death

Notes:

  • Spouse means husband or wife. A spouse who is separated from the deceased while the deceased was alive can claim a share of the estate except when the separation was by an Order of Court.
  • Issue means a child (legitimate or legally adopted) and descendants of a deceased’s child but exclude step-child.
  • Parents mean natural mother or father of a child or the lawful mother or father of a child under Adoption Act in Singapore.
  • Property that is owned under joint tenancy shall not pass under the Intestacy rule (or even under a Will). Upon death, it passes to the surviving joint owner under the principle of survivorship.

In the event of deceased dies intestate, some of the problems and difficulties encountered in the administration of the estate are -

  • The distribution according to State law may not be what you had in mind with some dependants of yours excluded e.g. parents would be excluded from the estate if you have children.
  • The Guardian appointed by the Court may not come from similar cultural and social background that hold similar beliefs as you to nurture and care for your young children in their formative years.
  • There may be dispute and delay in selecting an Administrator who is agreeable and acceptable by all the beneficiaries when applying for Letters of Administration.
  • Where infant beneficiaries are involved, life interest beneficiaries, beneficiaries who lack capacity (within meaning of Mental Capacity Act) or value of gross estate exceeds S$5 million, there is a legal requirement to have 2 sureties willing to guarantee the gross estate value of the estate in order to obtain the Letters of Administration. These sureties need to have assets equal to or exceed the total value of your estate (ref. para. 68 of the Family Justice Courts Practice Directions 2015).

What to consider when writing your Will?

  1. What real and personal assets do you own? Real estates, car, investment, cash etc.
  2. What are your liabilities and debts? Home loans, credit card balance, overdraft etc.
  3. Who and how much do you want to give? Spouse, children (including step-children and foreign adopted children, if any), parents, siblings, other relatives with disabilities or special needs or charities.
  4. How do you want to give? One lump-sum, regular interval with specific terms etc.
  5. Whom do you trust to be your Executor, Trustee and Guardian of children? The Guardian’s role is to have the custody of your children and be responsible for their support, health and education. The Executor’s role is to collect various assets of the estate and, where necessary, convert them into cash. After that, he distributes the assets among the beneficiaries according to the Will. When he/she does this, his/her role as an Executor evolves into that of a Trustee. For practical reasons, the same person is usually appointed to fulfill both roles of Executor and Trustee.Consider engaging a regulated Trust Company licensed by Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to be the Executor and Trustee if your estate is complex or if you cannot find anyone suitable to perform the role of Executor. Individuals may die in the midst of administering your estate whereas a Trust Company, being a corporate entity, will not face this problem. Greater professionalism is demanded of a Trust Company than a lay-Executor as the Trust Company is required to have officers who have the necessary qualification and track record, requirements to have in place proper internal controls, audit and professional indemnity insurance.
  6. Any special instructions and other matters? Instructions regarding funeral arrangements such as religion, style, budget and cremation/burial. Are there last words of endearment to your loved ones?

What are some items that do not go into a Will?

Properties held in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship cannot be dealt with under the Will. It is common in Singapore for married couples to own house jointly. Property that is owned under joint tenancy shall not pass under the Intestacy rule (or even under a Will). It passes to the surviving joint owner. Your cash balances in Central Provident Fund (CPF) will be distributed according to your CPF nomination. Your Will cannot override your CPF nomination.

Where should you leave your Will after it is written?

Your Will should be kept in the safest place possible. Protect your Will by keeping it in Professional Will custody to enjoy the following benefits -

  • Easily located when needed. Often testator could not remember where the Will is kept.
  • Not subject to asset freeze as a result of keeping the Will in safe-deposit box. When a person dies, the bank will freeze the box until a letter of Administration is obtained.
  • Your Will may be destroyed by natural calamities and insects like cockroaches and silverfish, which could render the Will invalid.
  • Prevent unwanted tampering or destruction by disgruntled or disinherited family members.
  • Preserve confidentiality of Will content. Only yourself or upon your passing on, your designated executor is able to access the Will.
  • A testator’s funeral instructions specified in the Will may not be fulfilled if it is misplaced.

Why write Will with us?

Our Wills are drafted by Precepts Legacy Pte Ltd (previously known as Rockwills Corporation Pte Ltd). It had drafted more than 12,800 Wills as at January 2020. Precepts Legacy Pte Ltd is a member of PreceptsGroup International, an established full-fledged estate and succession planning service provider offering the following list of services -

  • Customized Will-writing
  • Executorship & Trustee services
  • Rockwills custody service for keeping Wills
  • Personalized custody card with barcode
  • Personal Asset Inventory
  • Guidance on instruction taking
  • Transparent fees & re-write discount
  • Annual reminder
  • Wills retrieval service

A Will that is properly drafted and safely kept in Will custody will enable your family to quickly access your personal belongings, lessen their grief and avoiding unnecessary distress.

Write your Will today and provide your family a lasting sense of love, care and providence.

Remember, your family may always have a “right” to your estate, BUT it takes a Will to protect what is “right”!

Will Writing

Trust Planning

Planned Giving

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