Top 5 Questions on Wills
What is a Will?
- A Will is a legal document made by a person who wishes to distribute his/her assets to his/her loved ones.
- A Will only takes effect upon the death of the person who made the Will.
- A person making a Will is referred to as a testator (for males) or a testatrix (for females).
- A person who gets the inheritance is known as a beneficiary.
- A person appointed by a Will to manage the distribution of the assets to the beneficiaries is known as an executor.
- Assets can include money in money accounts or investments, insurance policies, real property (i.e. commercial or residential) and personal property (i.e. cars, watches, jewellery, paintings, etc). Don’t forget that your prized items are also your assets (i.e. handbag collection, toy collection).
- A Will can be amended or revoked during the Testator’s/Testatrix’s lifetime, while the said person still has the mental capacity to do so.
Who should make a Will?
Everybody above the age of 21 should consider making a Will. This ensures that your loved ones are protected according to your wishes, and not according to the law.
It is especially important if you have elderly or young dependants or if you are a sole breadwinner.
Why is it important to make a Will?
Firstly, you have the power to choose! You get to decide who are your beneficiaries and what your beneficiaries get to inherit from you.
Secondly, a Will, especially a well-crafted Will, can minimize conflicts amongst your loved ones. Nobody can then argue to say they should be getting more and the other should be getting less. The Will is there, in black and white.
Thirdly, your beneficiaries get to benefit more if there is a Will present because they will be able to avoid higher legal costs or delay to legal proceedings where there is no Will.
When a person passes away with a Will, a Court application for a Grant of Probate is required. However, where there is no Will, a Court application for a Grant of Letter of Administration is required, and this will involve more work to be done by the lawyers which in turn leads to higher legal costs.
As such, it definitely makes more sense to pay for a Will and have your wishes followed than to pay for extra legal costs for not having a Will.
What assets cannot be included in a Will?
Assets such as joint assets, insurance (with nomination) and CPF monies cannot be distributed via a Will.
For CPF monies, a nomination must be made as to who you wish to nominate your CPF monies. If there is no CPF nomination and even if a deceased HAD a Will, the CPF monies will be distributed according to the Intestate Succession Act.
What happens if there is no Will?
Where a person passes away without a Will, his/her assets will be distributed according to the Intestate Succession Act. If the deceased is not survived by any of the classes of persons listed in the Intestate Succession Act, our beloved Singapore will be the ultimate beneficiary of these assets!
As such, instead of worrying about who are the classes of persons who get to inherit under the Intestate Succession Act, just make a Will.
IF you do not have a Will
it will be more expensive to pay a lawyer to extract a Letter of Administration from the Court instead of extracting a Grant of Probate where there is a Will.
Posted on 1 February 2021
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