In the case that a person passes on, it is not desirable to be in a situation where the instructions are unclear and may lead to disputes within the family. Hence, it is recommended that a working adult or retiree draw up a Will when they are mentally capable.
Here are three common misconceptions about Will writing.
1. "I do not need a will as I am not rich."
Singapore's public trustee service is available at a fee for those with an estate value of S$50,000 or below. In reality, most people would possess more than this amount and will not be able to engage Singapore’s public trustee service.
Most adults own assets and money, be it a property, prized jewellery, savings, a vehicle, insurance policies, an art collection or a business. It is not true that only the rich need a Will to bequeath these possessions and heirlooms to the designated recipients. Regardless of one’s wealth level, if you have a Will, it means your family members do not need to worry about how to divide your assets in an equitable way. The executor is also able to donate a part of your estate to your chosen charity in accordance with your Will.
If you have debts, you will need to indicate how much debts are to be paid off from your savings before the rest of the possessions are distributed to your family members.
2. "I don't need a Will as my assets will be distributed according to the law."
Without a Will, your assets will be distributed according to Singapore’s laws of interstate succession. There is no chance for the assets to go to charities or non-family members.
According to these rules, if you are married without kids at the point of your departure, your spouse gets half of your assets while your parents split the remainder. If you are married with kids, your spouse inherits 50% of your assets while your children will inherit the rest in equal shares. If you pass on as a single, your parents will get an equal share. If your parents have passed on and you are single, your siblings will inherit your estate in equal shares. The rules are based on the number of surviving family members you have. Finally, if there are no surviving family members and you are unmarried, the government gets all your assets upon your passing.
3. "It is too expensive to write a Will."
It is possible to write a Will on your own but there are certain requirements for a Will to be legally valid. A lawyer can ensure the Will written is comprehensive and does not include assets which cannot be given away under a Will, such as CPF monies.
Also, in the event that you leave behind properties and assets overseas, a legally-trained executor will be able to provide the required evidence to support the transfer of owners for these properties and assets.
Without a Will, the process for the court to appoint a personal representative to transfer your assets to family members will take longer and cost more, because the family members need time to provide more evidence and documents to prove their relationships with the deceased, and obtain the Grant of Letter of Administration.
Still hesitant about writing a Will? Visit your nearest Maybank branch now to get a referral for a complimentary Wealth & Legacy Screening with an external law firm for an independent consultation.